LeBron is on the court, the cameras are stuck on his every move, and the boos are loud. TNT’s Kenny Smith said he’s never seen a basketball arena as intense as Quicken Loans Arena is right now, and even through the television I’m catching the vibe that the building is feeling real small for LeBron and the Heat right now. It’s almost like a high school rivalry game. Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade has never played in a national TV game where he’s been less of a story line than he is right now. Chris Bosh? He might as well be back in Toronto.
Props for some clever wordplay scattered throughout the crowd, but these are honestly some of the worst-made signs I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been to a handful of WWE shows.
Miami intros: LeBron is called first and gets booed without much incident. Big Z is cheered. Hmm, I wonder what the difference between those two former Cavs would be? Oh yeah …
Gotta say, the Cavs video and intro was nice. Almost made me forget how mediocre their roster is. “JOOOOOO-EEEEEEE GRAHAAAAAAAAAAM!!!”
LeBron does the chalk-toss right in Wally Szczerbiak’s face, who is in street clothes behind the scorer’s table. Tip-off time…
– How does Carlos Arroyo feel that Wade and Bosh are getting booed every touch, LeBron is getting booed SUPER-loud on every touch, Big Z is getting cheered, and he inspires silence. Like he’s not even relevant enough to boo. Carlos Arroyo, a.k.a. A Chance To Catch Your Breath.
– Wade gets the first basket with a dunk off a steal, then LeBron hits a face-up jumper on Anthony Parker. LeBron misses a three over Graham, and the crowd loves it.
– More slowed-down iso-heavy offense for the Heat. A missed Wade jumper leads to J.J. Hickson going coast-to-coast and kinda dunking on LeBron. Tell me again why Mike Brown didn’t use him in the Boston series? His athleticism against the C’s front line could have swung the series and, ultimately, kept LeBron in town. Cavs lead 11-10.
– Dime’s Eric Newman: “Wade is going to be the key tonight.” He actually said that before tip-off, and so far Wade has been the difference with his slashing.
– “Christina Bosh” (says somebody in the room) goes to the rack a little hesitant, and Ryan Hollins clocks him across the face. Surprised they didn’t call a flagrant just to keep the players in check. Bosh’s free throws make it 17-14, Cavs.
– Dan Gilbert: “Pat Riley might have taken my superstar, but I took his hair.”
– LeBron scores six in a row to put Miami ahead 21-17. If he gets cooking, this building is going to get real quiet. Here’s my question for the staunch LeBron haters: How do you really feel about LBJ as a player? I hear so many people harp on his (lack of) post game, his outside shot, his free throws. Do you think he’s just a good player and not great? Do you think he’s not good? Do you think he’s great with just a few flaws? Honest question.
– And … TNT waits until 2:30 left in the first quarter to roll out the “Cleveland Sports Misery” montage. New addition: a photo of LeBron, Wade and Bosh being introduced together in Miami.
– James Jones hits a three to make it a double-digit lead, but Boobie Gibson responds with a quick three. Last possession of the quarter, LeBron is iso’d on Jamario Moon, gets into the lane but misses a short pull-up. End of one, it’s 31-23 Miami.