Tag Archives: LeBron

Cavs send LeBron back to South Beach with a Heat loss, 102-90

30 Mar

For Cavs fans, beating LeBron’s Miami Heat just made this season a whole lot better. 

It’s like if Buckeye fans had to suffer through a 1-11 OSU football season…if that 1 win came against Michigan.

LBJ got the cold shoulder from Cavs players, fans & gameday workers, then left his old city with a loss. Take your talents back to South Beach LeBron.

The Cavs led by 23 (a fitting # given LBJ’s old uni in C-town), gave it all back, & still punked the Heat when Miami desperately needed a win to keep pace with Boston.  Right now Miami is stuck in the 3rd spot, headed on a crash course with the surging Philadelphia 76ers, a team no one is too excited about playing right now. 

Unless Miami somehow runs down the Bulls for the top spot in the East, they’ll be forced to face either the 76ers or the Knicks in the 1st round, yikes.  Either one is capable of pushing the Heat to 6 or 7 games, which is the last thing the Heat needs before a potentially brutal 2nd-round matchup with Boston (where the Celtics will likely have home court advantage).

ESPN.com has more from the AP:

CLEVELAND — As he left the arena, Cavaliers coach Byron Scott smiled and accepted fist bumps and congratulations from security guards lining the hallway.

“Coach,” one of them said, “we’re going to talk about this one all summer.”

And probably for many more.

Cleveland got the win it wanted most.

Take that, LeBron.

Despite blowing a 23-point lead, the Cavs battled back to beat the Miami Heat 102-90 on Tuesday night, getting a small dose of satisfaction against James, the franchise’s biggest star who was making his second homecoming visit to Cleveland since bolting last summer.

J.J. Hickson scored 21, Anthony Parker scored 20 and unsung center Ryan Hollins threw around his weight for the Cavs, who were embarrassed by the Heat 118-90 on Dec. 2 — a night when Cleveland fans unleashed pent-up hatred on James, the native son who scorned them.

This time, it was James who left the floor beaten. He finished with 27 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds and had to endure another night of constant booing from fans who once cherished his every move but now view him as a bitter enemy for betraying them.

James took the loss in stride, giving the Cavs credit they deserved.

“Anytime we play anybody, we know we’re going to get the best out of them,” James said. “They came out and played extremely well. It was a good win for them.”

It was more than that for Cleveland.

James’ departure was a crippling blow to a city that hasn’t celebrated a championship since 1964, and a region desperate for something positive to happen.

For at least one night, Cleveland rocked again.

“This was for the fans and for their support,” Cavs guard Daniel Gibson said. “They’ve stayed behind us and this was a way of saying thank you.”

In the closing seconds, the sellout crowd of 20,562 cut loose at a victory even the most loyal Clevelander couldn’t have imagined. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who accused James of quitting in last year’s playoffs after the two-time MVP announced he was joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in a poorly conceived TV special, high-fived anyone within reach.

Gilbert also posted on Twitter, “Not in our garage!!” a reference to James’ difficulty passing through security at Quicken Loans Arena earlier Tuesday.

On the floor afterward, Parker, whose last 3-pointer with 2:47 left capped a 12-0 run and put the Heat away, addressed Cavs fans.

“You guys deserve it,” he said as the fans erupted.

Later, Parker said the Cavs were out to fix what went wrong on Dec. 2.

“The first time we played them here, we were embarrassed and they took a little from us,” he said. “This is the night that we wanted to get that back, for us, but more for the fans. That was great getting it back for them.”

The Cavaliers were a different team — literally — from the one that laid down against the Heat here in December. Injuries and trades have reduced Cleveland’s roster to a shell of the one James played with and helped win 60 games last season.

The Heat rallied from a 71-48 deficit, tying it at 83-all on Mike Bibby‘s seventh 3-pointer with 7:03 left. But Miami, which wasted a chance to move into second place in the Eastern Conference standings, went scoreless for 4:24, allowing the Cavs to get just their 15th win — and most lopsided this season.

Wade added 24 for the Heat, who had their winning streak stopped at five.

Cleveland shot a season-high 56 percent from the field, a number that made coach Erik Spoelstra’s skin crawl.

“The majority of time in this league you get what you deserve and we got exactly what we deserved,” Spoelstra said. “They played harder than us. They came out with much more desperation and sense of urgency. This pattern started two games ago, and we’re a little confused what our identity is.”

Baron Davis made his first start since coming to Cleveland in a trade, and the veteran scored 10 points and provided floor leadership. The Cavs also got a big lift from Hollins, who had 13 points, three blocks and played physically — something none of Cleveland’s players did in December.

Hollins stopped one of Wade’s drives with an elbow, exchanged words with Miami’s guard and knocked James’ headband off under the basket.

“I feel like if they’re more concerned about me, then that’s a good thing for our team,” Hollins said. “That’s the way I wanted to play tonight.”

There wasn’t the same venom and hatred that shrouded James’ first visit four months ago. The crowd was energetic but not as outwardly angry toward James, who was booed every time he touched the ball. Security was extremely high, but there were no reported incidents.

The teams took turns going on extended runs in a wild, back-and-forth third quarter.

Cleveland scored 18 straight and opened a 71-48 lead, sending their fans into a frenzy and putting the Heat in a deep hole. But Miami was a long way from done as Wade hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored 10 points in a 19-1 spurt that pulled the Heat within 72-67 on James’ jumper.

Christian Eyenga‘s 3-pointer with 2 seconds left put the Cavs ahead 75-67. James flung a 3-pointer from a few steps beyond halfcourt to end the quarter, a shot that was initially ruled no good but changed after the officials reviewed TV replays between periods and determined there was a clock malfunction.

After the game, the NBA released a statement saying the shot actually should not have counted, but it was too late to change the score.

James arrived at the arena that was his pro basketball home for seven seasons at 5:12 p.m. Wearing headphones and a shirt with the inscription: “Long Live The King,” James went through security and waved to a few guards before ducking into the visitor’s locker room for the second time.

James wasn’t sure what he would be facing, but he was confident things would not be nearly as hostile as his previous visit.

“I expect the worst,” he said. “But worse than last time, Dec. 2? No.”

He got something else he didn’t expect. 

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Knicks punk Heat in Miami, showing why they will be a dangerous 1st round playoff opponent

28 Feb

Last night the new-look Knicks gave everybody a taste of what’s to come in the future, stealing a game on the road against the hated Miami Heat.  At least for one night, Billups’ experience & the scoring punch of Melo & Amare showed that NY’s “big 3” may be better than Miami’s trio of LeBron, Wade & Bosh. 

What’s so impressive is that Mr. Big Shot (Billups) nailed a deep 3, made a critical steal, & sank clutch free throws in the final few minutes; you can tell he has the respect of everybody on that Knicks roster.  He & Melo have only been on the team for a few games, but have already proved they can play well with Amare, Fields & co. 

Spike Lee took his talents to South Beach Sunday night, & so did the Knicks. NBAE/Getty Images

Despite being outsmarted & outhustled in the final quarter, the Heat had the ball down just 1 pt. late but couldn’t cash in.  With just a few seconds left, LeBron did his typical dribble-drive to the rack, expecting to either get contact (& a foul) or an easy look at the basket.  Ut-oh!  Melo, who Kevin McHale labeled earlier in the week as having a reputation of playing poor team defense, beat LBJ to his spot on the low block.  LeBron had to put up a high-angled shot, which Amare brilliantly swatted away to seal the game. 

It’s worth mentioning that on that play Amare came from the opposite side of the paint, knew LBJ’s tendencies (LeBron loves to shoot game winners) & the clock situation (not enough time for LBJ to make a safe pass, then have the recipient dribble/setup & shoot) to make the game-saving block.  And they say this Knicks team won’t play any defense?  That is a textbook example of great team defense when the game is on the line against one of the best finishers in the NBA!

Hats off to the Knicks – a signature win after that awful loss to the Cavs – they are officially that 5-6-7 seed we find about every couple years who nobody wants to play!

Click here to view ESPN’s 2 cents & the box score.

West takes 2011 NBA All-Star game in L.A., Kobe wins his 4th All-Star MVP

22 Feb

Great to see Kobe show everyone he’s still the alpha dog with an impressive performance on his home court!  The Black Mamba won the All-Star MVP (again) & showed flashbacks to his old days of leaping to the rim with spectacular up-and-under dunks that wowed the crowd.  Durant & Westbrook also had impressive dunks, as did LeBron & Rose…outstanding game!  Watching this showdown in L.A. reminded me of why the NBA has far & away the best all-star game of the 4 major sports:  Guys are hustling, trying to win, showcasing their moves, & it is genuinely entertaining to watch!

From ESPN.com

LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant always shines brightest among the stars, especially in his hometown.

Bryant brought Showtime back to the All-Star Game, scoring 37 points and tying a record with his fourth MVP award, leading the Western Conference to a 148-143 victory over the East on Sunday night.

Kobe beats LeBron to the rack, reaffirming who is the master & who is still the learner.

Team Grades: West | East
ESPNBoston.com: Celtics look ahead

“I feel like we have a sense of responsibility and we are voted in for what we do during the season, which is play hard,” Bryant said. “And we come here, that’s what the fans want to see. They want to see us go at it and see us compete and that’s what I try to do and that’s what I try to tell my teammates to do.”

Returning to the game he dominates after a one-year absence, Bryant added 14 rebounds in a spectacular performance in front of the usual celebrity-filled crowd that turns out to see his Lakers at Staples Center.

“It feels great, being at home here and playing in front of the home crowd,” Bryant said after receiving the MVP trophy. “This will be my last All-Star game in front of these home fans, so it feels good to do it.”

Kevin Durant chipped in 34 points, scoring five straight after the East cut a 17-point deficit after three quarters to two points with 2:34 to play. The NBA scoring leader added the clinching free throws after the East got back within three in the final seconds.

LeBron James powered the East rally, finishing with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to join Michael Jordan as the only players with a triple-double in the All-Star game. Amare Stoudemire also scored 29, but Miami’s Dwyane Wade, the MVP of the East’s win last year, had to leave with an ankle injury after scoring 14.

Wade said he rolled the ankle he originally hurt in a loss at Boston last week. He was hoping James would pull it out without him.

I Wanna Be Like Mike

LeBron James became the second player to tally a triple-double in an All-Star game, following in the footsteps of Michael Jordan.

LeBron James Michael Jordan
Year 2011 1997
Points 29 14
Rebounds 12 11
Assists 10 11

* Neither player was named game MVP.
— ESPN Stats & Information

“I wish the East would’ve won, then my teammate with the triple-double would’ve stole [the MVP],” Wade said. “But [Bryant] deserved it.”

Plenty of Hollywood giants were sitting courtside, but Bryant’s popularity here can rival most of them. This week, he became the first athlete to have his handprints and footprints put in concrete outside Hollywood’s famed Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

He told fans to “enjoy the show” before the tip, and as always he delivered a good one.

Always more about focus than fun, Bryant had 21 points by the time Rihanna came out for her halftime performance, putting him halfway to Wilt Chamberlain’s record from 1962, the year of his 100-point game.

“You could tell he started out from the start, he wanted to get the MVP,” Stoudemire said. “He was not passing the ball, at all. But that’s Kobe.”

And when the East made it close in the third quarter, Bryant dunked over a chasing James who was going for the block, then nailed a 3-pointer to make it 90-79.

Kobe Doing Work

Kobe Bryant’s 37-point night tied him for fourth on the list of most points scored in a single All-Star game.

Points Year
Wilt Chamberlain 42 1962
Michael Jordan* 40 1988
Rick Barry* 38 1967
Kobe Bryant* 37 2011
Kevin Garnett* 37 2003

* Won All-Star Game MVP
— ESPN Stats & Information

“He was unbelievable tonight,” James said. “You definitely saw his motor was going tonight.”

Carmelo Anthony scored eight points in his possible goodbye to the West team. The weekend was dominated by talk of a potential trade to New York or New Jersey, and the Denver Nuggets forward appeared alternately entertained and annoyed by the constant questions.

“At times, it can be tough, but it’s fun at the same time,” he said while walking on the magenta carpet before the game. “During this weekend I’m still having fun.”

While hearing some of the usual “MVP! MVP! chants he’s usually serenaded with at Staples Center, Bryant tied Bob Pettit’s record for All-Star game honors. He was scoreless for the final 6:48, but Lakers teammate Pau Gasol had a big basket to help the West hold on.

Gasol scored 17 points, helping the West hold on against an East team featuring a combined seven players from Boston and Miami, considered two of the biggest threats to end the Lakers’ reign.

The exhibition game had a bit of a finals feel with the presence of a record-tying four players from the rival Celtics.

Paul Pierce — who grew up in nearby Inglewood — and Kevin Garnett received the heaviest boos during the starting lineups. Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo were also here from the group that lost Game 7 on this floor last June and would love another chance to come take the title back.

East coach Doc Rivers sent his four players out together midway through the first quarter to loud boos that usually provide the soundtrack of June in Los Angeles. They quickly turned to cheers when Allen threw up an airball on his first shot attempt.

Bryant denied gaining extra motivation from seeing the two rivals, both of whom already won at Staples Center this season. But he was clearly into the game from the start, driving for a couple of strong dunks or knocking down jumpers when defenders gave him room.

The crowd of entertainers included Beyonce and Jay-Z, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jack Nicholson, Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Justin Bieber — who was called Justin “Berber” by the public address announcer while mentioning the teen star’s MVP performance in the celebrity game on Friday.

Perhaps trying too hard to impress the stars surrounding them, there were errant passes and shaky shooting in the early minutes. The West got it right in the final minute of the first quarter, with rookie star Blake Griffin of the Clippers catching an alley-oop pass from Deron Williams for one of his powerful dunks — though not quite the degree of difficulty as his slam while leaping over the hood of a car Saturday to win the dunk contest.

The game was a welcome diversion from the Anthony talk and the troubling labor situation that threatens the league. Next year’s game is scheduled for Orlando, but nobody can be sure it will be played. The owners and players’ association met Friday to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires June 30. Though it was described as a positive meeting, there was also no progress made, and the sides have a significant gap to close in order to prevent a work stoppage.

And it was a welcome break for Lakers fans, whose defending two-time champions stumbled into the weekend with three losses in a row.

They’ll be all right if Bryant is as sharp in the spring as he was Sunday.

Chris Bosh scored 14 points, Allen had 12, and Derrick Rose and Joe Johnson finished with 11 apiece for the East.

Following a pregame performance by rocker Lenny Kravitz, and a tandem talc toss by James and the rest of the East starters, Bryant scored 11 points in the first quarter. The West led 76-64 at halftime.

Russell Westbrook, who played at UCLA, scored 12 points and Chris Paul added 10 for the West.

Game notes
Not all Celtics get booed in Los Angeles. Hall of Famer Bill Russell, who this week became the first person from the NBA to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, received a standing ovation when his honor was announced during the second quarter. … The record of 14 straight All-Star selections is shared by Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal and Karl Malone. … Dolph Schayes was honored for scoring the first points in the first All-Star game 60 years ago.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press