What good does it do if a crowd is amped to a frothy frenzy and the team their supporting plays softer than tissue in what was their biggest game of the year? Not a damn bit of good, which is also an accurate way to describe the play from the Cleveland Cavaliers, who watched helplessly as LeBron James proceeded their destroy the hearts, minds and will with a devastating performance, especially in the third quarter. And no, the witty signs didn’t help one damn bit.
The Miami Herald referred to the moment as “Homecoming King,” but the way LeBron first toyed his former teammates, and then destroyed them on the court with a cold-as-ice, methodical performance, including a third quarter that broke a number of Miami Heat and Cavaliers single-game records, “The Assassination Agenda” is more appropriate.
There’s a basketball game of some note tonight, in case you didn’t know, and it features a player you may or may not have heard about making his to the city he loves so much. That’s right, LeBron’s appearing in Akron tonight. Bad jokes aside, it’s pretty safe to say there hasn’t been a regular season NBA game to get this much hype since, well, maybe ever. While it’s true other franchises have played meaningful regular season games before — like the Celtics versus Lakers in the days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird — I don’t remember they hype level being quite this high.
Of course, there wasn’t any nifty Internet technologies like Twitter, YouTube or Facebook around back then, and these entities directly fuel immediate reaction fire, making the hype meter rise to “off the charts” like levels.
With that in mind, I’ve spent a little bit of time checking out YouTube, looking for videos that help propel the first Miami Heat/Cleveland Cavaliers game since “The Decision” into something much bigger than it probably should be; and buddy, I was not disappointed:
My man-crush on Russell Westbrook is becoming an “epic proportions” situation, and thanks to fantastic performances, like the one he displayed against the New Jersey Nets, especially in overtime (all 13 of OKC’s points in the third overtime), makes it difficult to maintain objectivity when his name is mentioned.
To say Westbrook has quickly become my favorite NBA player is accurate, if not understated, and if he keeps scoring all of his team’s points in deciding overtime sessions, saving me from falling under his spell completely will be impossible. While I’ve known about Westbrook since his UCLA days, my man-crush didn’t take root until this past summer’s FIBA World Championship.
Now it appears there’s no turning back, at least for me. I think it’s safe to say I’m officially a lost cause when it comes to Russell Westbrook. Now, will this become something similar to the LeBron super fan discussed here a while back? Probably not, but don’t be surprised if you see me out in one of his jerseys, either.
While he might be an oversized man-child, there’s no denying the raw talent level of Dwight Howard. Just ask Luol Deng. Deng tried to complete a driving layup against the Magic defense, and he was rewarded quite rudely by Howard, who pimp-slapped Deng’s offering into the next zip code. The block was so impressive, it had to be preserved in animated gif format, an unexpected renaissance that proves without a doubt what’s old is most definitely new again — in relation to web design, anyway.
One guy thinks tomorrow night’s Miami Heat/Cleveland Cavaliers/The-Night-He-Came-Home game is only “one game,” while his former teammate thinks the most NBA’s most anticipated contest of its early season will be “more than a game.” So who’s right? Considering the absolute orgy of “LeBron goes back to Cleveland” hubbub littering the sports world today — the game’s not until Thursday night, giving us 48 hours of hype — the second player, Mo Williams, clearly has a more accurate pulse reading than LeBron and his desire to downplay his return to the city he so famously spurned on that fateful July evening.
Granted, I’m not expecting to see a repeat of the Malice in the Palace debacle — although, if LeBron does indeed do that silly talcum powder thing for the Cleveland crowd, we just might — but to act like the first Miami/Cleveland game of the season is just another in the long line of 82 is a mistake. That being said, it’s easy to understand James’ desire to downplay the situation, but it seems like he’s just making it worse.
Last night, NBA jokester/man-child, Dwight Howard, had a laugh at the expense of Arizona Cardinals quarterback, Derek Anderson, by making fun of Anderson’s post-game rant after the Cardinals got stomped by the San Francisco 49ers. The results are about what you’d expect from the guy responsible for releasing a karaoke-for-kids album in the offseason.
In other news, I’m guessing Howard’s season low of nine points coming on the heels of his impersonation is only a coincidence, right? It certainly couldn’t be karma from making fun of such a poor performance — vicariously, anyway — could it?
Citing that he doesn’t believe he’s an acrobatic dunker, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has decided to not participate in the upcoming Slam Dunk Contest when the NBA’s All Star festivities kick off on the weekend of February 20th. While the news has been accepted with some degree of personal sadness — blame my self-admitted man-crush on the OKC guard — it’s easy to understand Westbrook’s decision. He’s a power dunker who will mash it in your face during a game, but he doesn’t break out double windmills in the process.
In light of Westbrook’s decision, I figured this post would be a great place to feature a tribute to the kinds of dunks we’ll be missing out on:
Against the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche demonstrated the absolute perfect way to absolutely not play pick-and-roll defense. It was so bad, in fact, it reminded me of masterful demonstration of effort and perseverance Albert Haynesworth displayed against the Philadelphia Eagles.