Now this, was just cruel.
This was barbaric and downright despicable. It was so mystifying and bewildering of a plot that it deserved to be in a Michael Bay movie. Not since Bruce Wayne in “The Dark Knight” has a hero had such a tragic fall and made such a rigorous and straining return to the top.
LeBron James is the hero Cleveland needs, but not the one they deserve.
Appreciate what you have Miami, because there are 29 other NBA organizations that would give up a few valuable appendages for the chance to get the future MVP on your team.
Why? Because you’re not going to find many players who can play the role of a force so powerful that they can turn a 67-40 deficit with seven minutes, 44 seconds remaining into an 80-79 lead with 9:40 remaining in the fourth.
In ten minutes, LeBron, with a great deal of help from the perimeter in the forms of Ray Allen, Shane Battier, and Mario Chalmers, created a 30-point swing.
LeBron had seven points by the seven-minute mark of the third. He ended up with 25, which included a stretch of three consecutive three-pointers that turned a 77-69 deficit into a one-point lead in less than two minutes.
James scored 11 consecutive points for Miami in less than two minutes. David Stern should have wheeled out the MVP award, put a tiara on LeBron’s head and have Adam Silver throw him a bouquet once the game ended.
He finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds (7 offensive), 10 assists, three steals, and two blocks.
Oh, by the way, James also hit two crucial free throws in the final seconds that gave the Heat a three-point advantage with 4.7 seconds remaining. Battier provided some more excellent clutch defense and forced C.J. Miles into a off-balanced three-pointer.
Battier was 3-of-7 from beyond the arc and also played an instrumental role, hitting consecutive threes that whittled the Heat’s deficit from 18 to 12. Battier, Allen, Chalmers, and James combined to make all 12 of the Heat’s threes, each making three.
Miami didn’t make a field-goal over the final three minutes, but shot 5-of-7 from the foul line.
The Heat had the look of a team that was coming off an emotional comeback victory against a heated rival two days prior. Although the Cavs were without Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao, the role players and replacements proceeded to come out firing on all cylinders to lead Cleveland to a 32-point first quarter.
Miami then fell to pieces in the second. They scored only ten points in what was their lowest scoring of the quarter, and went into the half down by 21.
It wasn’t simply Cleveland making shots, either. Miami’s effort was nonexistent for the first 30 minutes of this game and it showed in their effort to hit the defensive glass. It’s yet another installment of Miami getting worked on that side of the court, rendering their defensive efforts moot.
They would get it together late, however, cutting the rebounding deficit to only a 42-34 advantage. Cleveland held a 15-11 offensive rebounding edge, four apiece coming from Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller.
The Cavaliers built up a 27-point lead after a pair of Zeller free throws with 7:44 remaining. They had the chance to go up 30 at one point, but Wayne Ellington missed a jumper and LeBron hit a free throw on the other end.
Over the next 19 minutes, 44 seconds, the Heat went on a 58-28 run. I cannot make this stuff up if I tried. They outscored Cleveland 64-40 in the second half.
Did I mention this was the team that had just completed a 13-point fourth quarter comeback in a raucous environment two days earlier? Miami was down by as much as nine in the fourth.
Miami built up a nine-point lead with 3:02 remaining, but two dunks, a difficult three-pointer, and a pair of free throws by Cleveland cut the lead to one with 44 seconds remaining.
Dwyane Wade, 11 points, six rebounds and five assists, missed a jumper, but Cleveland failed to take advantage with Ellington missing a difficult step-back 24-foot two-pointer.
Believe it or not, according to ESPN.com, this is the third 27-point comeback this season from a team. Milwaukee staged such a comeback against Chicago, while Atlanta erased the deficit against Boston needing two overtimes.
Perhaps the Heat should unleash their defensive intensity for 48 minutes. Or how about just a solid effort exhibited in the first half? The Heat keep finding themselves in these holes during the streak, yet have continued to find ways out of it.
This game against Cleveland had all the makings of a trap game, but Miami just couldn’t allow that to happen.
The Heat sweep their five-game road trip and go home to Miami for a two games at home, starting with the Detroit Pistons on Friday.