HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — It took nearly 20,000 screaming fans at Quicken Loans Arena to do what training camp, the preseason and a month of on the job training couldn’t do for the Miami Heat.
It took LeBron James going back to his old stomping grounds and facing those fans (who poured more into their performance than their team did) to tap into the synergy James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will need if they are ever to become the team super team they were engineered to be.
The Heat team that walked out of that arena late Thursday night is the team most of us expected to see a month ago, a group that uses the talents of two of the most explosive and breathtaking players on the planet as the fuel for a relentless machine that cannot be stopped by an average bunch.
The Cavaliers offered little resistance past an adrenaline-filled first quarter, despite the constant prodding of coach Byron Scott, who refused to complain about what he never had but surely realizes now what he missed with No. 6 in the white jersey running over his team like a freight train all night.
We realize that most Cavaliers fans didn’t wake up this morning feeling any better about “The Decision” or James, but they should be happy he showed a little restraint. Those 38 points he dropped could have been 48 or even 58 if James had demanded to stay on the floor in the fourth quarter.
He could have rubbed Cleveland’s face in the dirty snow even more if he wanted to be cruel about it. He won’t be apologizing anytime soon for anything that he’s done, and honestly I don’t think it matters if he ever does.
The pain of his departure will dissipate some day, years from now. But the fact is he’s gone. He’s on a new team and until they face his old team and faced down those old fans, it wasn’t really clear just how dangerous his new team could be.
It’s clear now.