Whenever LeBron James returns home, Cleveland Cavaliers‘ fans put on a brave mask, hopeful that their squad can save face. However, deep down, the fear of an onslaught brought on by the former face of the franchise must be overwhelming. Mix in elements of combating the Miami Heat without team leaders Kyrie Irving and Luol Deng, and you had the NBA brewing a March Madness batch of its very own.
No Dwyane Wade? It didn’t matter. Did anyone notice Greg Oden getting the starting nod? Not so much. Not on this evening — this was about a city’s battle against its kryptonite demons.
Since James’ departure in 2010, the city of Cleveland has been held hostage. It began with disbelief, followed by a united front of anger, accompanied by a combination of denial and optimism by clinging to the hopes of one day, the King returning to save them. Not to mention the shutout in the playoff appearance department lurking in the background.
Could a reunion actually take place? Well Cavs’ fans, never count out the making of a future “president of operations” nameplate, although take solace in the fact that citizens of the sports world residing outside of South Beach are rooting for a triumphant reincarnation. Although you may have to wait until his seven-year tour in a New York Knicks‘ uniform is complete.
It didn’t take long for the thrill-ride to take shape. LeBron’s first-quarter cage of killer instinct was unlocked, and he undoubtedly unleashed a full-on assault. Setting a personal record in the process, 25 points and guns blazing.
Still, this was not a one-man show, as I would be remiss if the heart showed by the Cavaliers did not receive its proper respect due. Holding court while being deprived of Irving’s services (otherwise known as, the next to flee the city) would have originally been thought of as an obstacle that could not be overcome. Little did we know, Cleveland was ready to take aim.
There was not a loose ball available that didn’t have an all-out effort attached to it, not a lane driven without a hard-nosed foul to fill it, the Cavaliers’ effort needs to be commended and recognized.
Could this be a city’s closure occurring once and for all? It’s time Cleveland. On this night, your squad no longer played the role of the King’s pawns.