Despite a very meaningful Thursday night NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Houston Texans, a college football rivalry game between Arizona St. and Arizona, and my intramural bowling league championship playoff that begins tonight on ESPN 8 (The Ocho), the game everyone will be watching in t-minus 45 minutes is going to be the NBA matchup between the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.
The great return of Zydrunas Ilgauskas to Quicken Loans Arena. A possible Eastern Conference Finals match-up teaser between an 11-8 Miami Heat team and the 7-10 Cleveland Cavaliers. A heated rivalry that dates back to, well, just this past summer. Or, all my kidding aside, the significant return of the all-time leading scorer in Cleveland franchise history, Lebron James. (This is including former Cavalier greats such as Craig Ehlo, Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, and even the legendary Shawn Kemp.) I think it’s safe to say LeBron James was a big deal in Cleveland.
Then “The Decision” happened, on national television, when we saw Lebron backstab his hometown and former team and take his talents to South Beach to play for the Miami Heat. It was following that announcement that we saw LeBron James jerseys being burned in the streets, bars full of men and women weeping their title hopes away, and GM Dan Gilbert writing a letter to LeBron, Cavalier fans and the rest of the world promising a championship title in the next 5 years. (Good luck with that.)
Needless to say, tonight’s game in Cleveland is said to possibly be the biggest and greatest booing performance by any one city in any sporting event, ever. On the headline of ESPN.com earlier this week we read that the Miami Heat would not release their travel plans, due to the fact that an ambush of the team plane or bus would probably be likely once they arrived in Cleveland. Quicken Loans Arena security is going overboard to ensure that the rowdy and ruthless crowd does not become a dangerous one.
I am personally interested, though, to see how LeBron responds. He has yet to step up in big time pressure situations in the past, and I do not see tonight being any different. I actually think the Cavaliers will win the game outright despite being significantly less talented and six-point underdogs at home. Each player for the Cavaliers will be playing the game of their lives and have every single voice in the crowd behind them.
I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of what was at stake tonight. A game consisting of all these unique ramifications will probably not occur again in sports for a very long time. Take the time this evening to grab a drink, pop some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show.
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