LeBron enjoyed his return to Cleveland a lot more then anyone would've expected.
All the pre-game attention was on LeBron James, but if he was effected by the chorus of boo's raining down on him from the Cavs faithful he didn't show it. When the game finally started, it was Dwyane Wade who was stepping up early for the Heat. He started the game 4-of-5, with 8 points in his first 7 minutes.
Miami went on a late 16-0 run and after trailing by 5 at one point, ended up taking an 8-point lead into the 2nd quarter. LeBron had a very impressive 1st quarter, scoring 10 points and adding 4 boards, 5 assists and a block. The Cavs players seemed nervous too, turning the ball over 4 times in the opening 12 minutes.
The Heat continued to score pretty efficiently, hitting the 50-point mark with about 4 minutes left in the half while Cleveland had yet to reach 40. Miami continued to execute well, outscoring the Cavs 28-17 in the 2nd quarter to take a 19-point lead into the break.
Things started to get ugly for Cleveland in the 3rd quarter. They kept turning the ball over, they couldn't score and soon found themselves trying to avoid going down by 30 points. LeBron James was a big part of that, starting the quarter going 5-for-5 in the first 6 minutes. In what had been such an electric, playoff-like atmosphere...the air certainly got sucked out of that building pretty fast.
LeBron kept his foot on the pedal through the end of the 3rd. He scored 24 of his 38 points in the quarter, shooting the ball better then I'd seem him do all season. The lead was at one point up to 38 for Miami, but it was down to a ‘humble' 30 by the beginning of the 4th quarter. What surprised me was that despite the huge lead, the Heat started the final period with Chris Bosh and D-Wade on the floor.
I was a little worried about a 4th quarter let down, and after a slow start Miami was able to finish the game strong. Then they were able to get out of the arena without any incident, which was another thing I was concerned about. Several Cavaliers fans were ejected towards the end of the game, but thankfully nothing carried over to the court.
This was probably the most complete game that Miami has played all season. They went into the most hostile environment they had faced this season and responded with the biggest butt kicking they had laid on any team so far this year. Now the Heat has completed the 3-game win week that we'd hoped for. They went from 9-8 to 12-8 in the span of 4 days.
- Dwyane Wade came 1 rebounds and 1 assist away from his first triple-double of the season.
- The Big 3 combined for 75 points.
- Lost in the shuffle was the return of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who went scoreless with 2 rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block in 14 minutes. He got a nice cheer from the crowd during pre-game introductions.
- LeBron committed zero turnovers.
- James Jones' 18 points was his highest total since the Heat's 2nd game of the season when he scored 20 in Philly. J-J finished going 6-of-8 from the field and 5-of-7 from downtown.
- Mario Chalmers shot the ball well but committed some stupid fouls. He hit 3 triples, the most in one game for him this season.
- Continuing his resurgence was Joel Anthony, playing 18 minutes and grabbing a season-high 8 rebounds to go along with 4 points and a pair of assists.