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Win over LeBron in Cleveland comes too late for impatient fans

The Sports Xchange
 
Win over LeBron in Cleveland comes too late for impatient fans · Roster Report · Notes, Quotes
 

Obviously, for the first time in six seasons, there will be no playoffs for the Cavaliers.

The only way they'll get close to the postseason this year is if they buy a ticket.

That's why their encounter with the Heat on Tuesday was like a playoff game for them. The pounded the listless Heat, 102-90, for one of their biggest wins of the season.

Cleveland has beaten Miami, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston at home this season.

There are some who believe the Cavaliers' unraveling this season can be traced to their first meeting with the Heat on Dec. 2.

The Heat pounded the Cavs that night at The Q, 118-90, as LeBron James had 38 points. He hugged former teammates, joked around in front of the Cavs bench and had the run of the place.

Cavs coach Byron Scott doesn't think the Dec. 2 game had any impact on the rest of the season.

"To look at that game and say it was a defining moment to us having a backslide, I just don't think so," he said. "I think we played some bad basketball, lost some confidence, and the injuries started to creep in. I don't think that game defined anything, other than they were a much better team than us that night."

Since that game, the Heat are 41-15 and the Cavs are 8-48.

Scott said no one has asked him about James in quite some time, a stark contrast to early in the season.

"When I first got here, it was almost everywhere I went, which was understandable," he said. "I can't remember the last time someone said something about LeBron in the last three or four months.

"(Before) it was like, 'When they come to town, I don't care if you win but one game, we want you to beat Miami.' Even the fans have come to the realization that he's a Miami Heat."

The signature win came almost four months late for the Cavs fans, but Tuesday's game was rewarding for a team that's not going anywhere.

CAVALIERS 102, HEAT 90: The Cavs ambushed one of the league's so-called elite teams Tuesday before a sellout crowd at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Heat never led in the game, though there were five ties. The Cavs withstood Heat forward LeBron James' fourth triple-double of the season (27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists).

James burned the Cavs faithful last summer in free agency. When he showed up for the shootaround Tuesday in an SUV, he was originally denied entrance into the building. Officials said because he didn't show up on the team bus, they weren't allowed to let him in. They relented after a few minutes.

After the game, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert tweeted, "Not in our garage."

There are still some frayed nerve-endings regarding James with the Cavs.

The Cavs got a huge lift from an unexpected source. Ryan Hollins played perhaps his best game of the season, finishing with 13 points, three rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

With the Cavs clinging to a two-point lead with 5:22 to play, the 7-footer swatted a shot from Miami's Chris Bosh. Then he ran the floor and caught a pass from Baron Davis for a dunk on the other end.

"It was huge," Hollins said. "It was a big play in the game."

Anthony Parker shook a month-long shooting slump, scoring 20 points. He was 7-for-9 from the field and converted all four 3-point attempts in the game.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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