Cavaliers Crushed By Heat, 118-90

LeBron James scores 24 points in the 3rd Quarter, 38 points for the game, as the Heat run away from the Cavs

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Dan Gilbert Feels The Pain Of The Fans

Dan Gilbert knows the fans are not happy with how it all went down at The Q last night. He had a front row seat for it all, including all the LOL’s going on between the Cavaliers players and LeBron James who seemingly spent more time near the Cavs bench during the game.

Gilbert expressed those feelings via Twitter last night and FearTheSword has it all.

Gilbert is one of the best owners in sports. I really believe that. The Cavaliers are still trying to figure out how to move on post-LeBron. Perhaps the first thing is a bit of a house-cleaning.

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All Heat In LeBron's Return To Cleveland

They booed, they held signs and they cheered for Heat mistakes. The only thing Cavaliers fans couldn’t do was get a little revenge.

In his first game back in Cleveland as a member of the Heat — in his first game back since “The Decision” — LeBron James scored 38 points with eight assists and five rebounds, and led Miami in a 118-90 rout of his former team.

James, an Akron native, spent his first seven NBA seasons with Cleveland before becoming a free agent this past summer. Instead of choosing to re-sign with the Cavaliers, James opted to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Heat.

But the boos didn’t rain down on James on Thursday because he chose another team, at least not totally. They also rained down because James chose another team through a much-hyped ESPN special — “The Decision” — in July.

The nature of James’ departure from the Cavaliers prompted the team to increase security in preparation for James’ return, and there were guards by the Heat bench throughout the game. But if anything, it was the Cavaliers who needed protection.

And if Cleveland fans hoped James and his new team fell flat, it didn’t happen. James shot 15-of-25 while Wade almost posted a triple-double, going for 22 points, nine assists and nine rebounds. Bosh added 15 points as the Heat shot 56.6 percent in a third consecutive win.

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Big Three Combine For 39 Points As Heat Dominate Cavaliers

This isn't want the fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers had in mind when we circled tonight on the schedule.  The Miami Heat, perhaps for the first time this season, played dominating basketball, at least for 24 minutes, to take a 59-40 lead over the Cavaliers.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade scored 14 points each and Chris Bosh chipped in with 11 as Miami shot 52% in the first half.  

It wasn't nearly as smooth for the Cavaliers, who appeared to wilt in the spotlight.  Mo Williams was 1-7 in the half, leading the Cavaliers with 9 points.  As a team the Cavaliers shot just 28.9%(13-45) from the field, and were out-rebounded by the smaller Heat 28-19.  

Perhaps most disappointing was the Cavaliers laughing and joking around with LeBron James during time outs.  It allowed James to play the way he likes to play - light-hearted, with a smile, joking around.  It almost seemed as though LeBron was a Cavalier again.

Hopefully things get better for the Cavaliers in the 2nd half, or they at least show some pride and remind LeBron his bench is at the OTHER end of the court.

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Heat Have 8-Point Lead After 12 Minutes

LeBron James heard the boos, he heard the chants. He then went off for 10 first quarter points, leading the Miami Heat on a 16-0 run to take a 31-23 lead over the Cavaliers after the 1st Quarter. For the Cavaliers it was more of the same - Daniel Gibson, Antawn Jamison and J.J. Hickson all scored 6 points for the Cavaliers who were a bit sloppy early with 4 turnovers. Mo Williams had 3 turnovers himself and was 1-5 shooting. Unlike James who seemed calm, cool and collected, Williams seemed to struggle in the moment. The Heat shot 54.5% is the quarter while the Cavaliers shot 34.6%.
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Preview: Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers

Sports can be a very emotional thing for some fans.

In fact, some supporters get so caught up in their favorite teams that they lose perspective.

LeBron James is not Benedict Arnold or American Taliban John Walker Lindh but he is the most famous "traitor" in sports, a reviled figure in the Forest City that returns to Cleveland tonight for the first time since "The Decision" as his rudderless Miami Heat face a plucky Cavaliers club that has not completely fallen apart without the services of basketball's chosen one.

Of course James spurned the Cavs for South Beach by publicly announcing his divorce from the team in the much-hyped ESPN special "The Decision" back in July. The King chose South Beach and the chance to play with fellow "superstars" Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in an effort to win his elusive first NBA championship.

Although a pedestrian 7-10 heading into Thursday's action, the doomsday predictions that had the Cavaliers challenging the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers for futility have been unfounded and Cleveland is currently holding down the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

James' Heat, meanwhile, aren't much better at 11-8 and those 70-win predictions are about to be rendered meaningless by the science of mathematics. James tried to soften what is expected to be a tough "homecoming" earlier in the week by thanking the fans of Cleveland for their support over the years.

"I think it's going to be very emotional," James said after practice earlier in the week. "I've got a lot of great memories in that city. I give a lot of thanks to that city, lot of thanks to those fans for giving me the opportunity to not only showcase my talent but grow from a young boy to a man."

James is also preparing for the worst, however.

"It's going to be tough, but I'm there to win a basketball game," he said. "I understand how passionate fans are about sports. I'm ready for whatever response that I'm going to get."

On the court Miami hasn't lived up to expectations. It has won two straight and three of four games since a three-game losing streak and was last in action on Wednesday versus Detroit. In the 97-72 victory over the Pistons, James scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Heat, who got 16 points apiece from Wade and Bosh.

Bosh also pulled down seven rebounds and dished out four assists. He has scored at least 20 points in seven of his last nine games. Heat center Zydrunas Ilgauskas will also make his return to the Forest City and is Cleveland's all-time leader in games played, rebounds and blocked shots.

Miami hopes to put the brakes on a four-game road losing streak and is just 2-5 away from south Florida this season.

Cleveland will wrap up a three-game homestand tonight with an emotional visit from its former savior. It is 1-1 on the residency and has dropped five of the last seven games, including Tuesday's 106-87 loss to the Boston Celtics.

Daniel Gibson and Anderson Varejao both scored 16 points for the Cavaliers, who got 13 points apiece fromMo Williams and Anthony Parker.

"They decided to come out and be a little bit more aggressive on both ends of the floor," Cleveland first-year coach Byron Scott said of Boston's play. "It's kind of like that boxing match where you get punched in the face and you want to see how you're going to react. I thought we staggered but we never really threw a punch back and that was pretty much the difference."

The Cavs are 4-5 at home this season and won all three meetings with Miami a season ago. They are 10-3 in the last 13 matchups with the Heat, who have lost five straight and eight of nine visits to Quicken Loans Arena.

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Heat's Plane Experiences Trouble Coming To Cleveland

Could it be karma? According to Cleveland.com, the Miami Heat’s charter flight to Cleveland early this morning reported trouble while coming in for a landing:

Jackie Mayo, a spokeswoman for Cleveland Hopkins airport, says the crew of the Heat’s plane reported a wing “flap issue” early Thursday as the aircraft was on its approach. An alert was issued at the airport and two fire trucks were sent out to the runway, which is standard procedure.

The report goes on to say that the plane landed safely around 2:30 this morning, with the Heat now staying at an undisclosed location. Welcome home, LeBron!

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Five Things Cavaliers Must Do To Beat The Heat

Martin Rickman of SBNation's own Fear The Sword offered his five things the Cavaliers needed to do to beat the Miami Heat in the return of LeBron James tonight.  You can head on over the FTS to see all five, but one of them definitely caught my eye.  Ironically it is No. 5 on the list:

5.) Let LeBron get his.

LeBron is going to score. He's going to do his thing. Fine. Let him have his 50 if he wants it. That means he'll take 30 shots and completely dominate the ball. That means the Heat have no offensive flow. That means he'll hoist up terrible threes that completely take Miami out of their rhythm or lead to easy buckets for the Cavs. That means Bosh and Wade will get frustrated.

Stay off him, dare him to shoot. Let him think he can shoot his way into the record books at the Q. He already thinks this is all about him -- let that be the case. Let him try to feed off the fans. 50 points won't win the game. If you flip the switch from distributor to SOLELY scorer and the Cavs do the above four things, playing as a team will make the difference. Look at Boston -- no one player dominates the ball. That's what makes them so dangerous.

If Bosh is irrelevant and Wade can never get into his flow, it really doesn't matter how many LeBron puts up -- if the Cavs play their game and play at their pace and under control.

To this I completely agree.  For years, teams defended the Cavaliers by making LeBron do EVERYTHING, while not allowing his supporting cast to do anything.  LeBron is going to be pumped - and that isn't always a good thing for James - and his Heat teammates are likely going to try and get him off for a big game.  Let them.  Allow LeBron to hoist jumpers tonight.  Don't let D-Wade or Bosh get going, however.  Rush them every time they get the ball and force it out of their hands.  Make LeBron have to have a historical night in order to win.  

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Dan Gilbert Funding Tampering Investigation Regarding LeBron/Miami Heat

Dan Gilbert said it took about 24 hours to get over LeBron James and his decision to take his talents to South Beach.  That hasn't stopped the owner of the Cavaliers from hiring some high-powered attorneys to look into whether or not the Miami Heat tampered with James while he was the property of the Cavaliers.

According to a report on Yahoo!Sports, Adrian Wojnarowski says Gilbert's plan is to take a detailed report to NBA Commissioner David Stern in hopes of getting an investigation launched by the NBA:

The NBA won't launch an investigation into a tampering case without a formal request from a team, but sources say Gilbert's plan is to give commissioner David Stern a detailed case that includes meetings, phone calls and contingency plans that date as far back as 2008. Gilbert will implore Stern to use his powers as commissioner to get access to phone records and testimony of key people surrounding Heat president Pat Riley, James and others potentially involved. 

Gilbert will spare no expense to uncover whatever evidence he can to take to the league office, two sources with direct knowledge of the probe told Yahoo! Sports. The law firm staff includes several former prosecutors with backgrounds in investigating and constructing cases, sources said.

The report goes on to say that the firm looking into the situation is focused on a pair of alleged meetings - one involving James and Heat president Pat Riley in November  of 2009 and a meeting between James' inner circle and Dwyane Wade in June 2010.  Both could be considered tampering if the context of the meetings was to discuss James, Wade and Bosh playing together in Miami.

Proving such will be tough, though if anyone can afford to dig deep it is Dan Gilbert.

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