It was a special night at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio as LeBron James made his official return home after spending four seasons with the Miami Heat.
When LeBron was introduced at the beginning of the game by the Cavaliers public address announcer, the crowd of 20,000 plus jumped to their feet and reacted to James as if he was a heroic king coming home, which in a way he is.
James, who is unquestionably the best player in the NBA, seemed to fold under the pressure of his homecoming as he turned in a disappointing performance, finishing with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 8 turnovers.
While James was struggling, teammates Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving turned in great performances. Love finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists while Irving finished with 22 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds.
Even with Love and Irving playing as well as they did, they couldn’t make up for James’ struggles as the Cavaliers lost their season opener to the New York Knicks, 95-90.
After the game, Cavaliers head coach David Blatt was asked about the loss.
“I thought we came out with energy and we started well. We began the game in the fashion we had hoped to play it. Then we spiked at a certain point, and dropped off the map. We got stagnant without question. We’re good when we move the ball. We’re really good.”
Blatt was also asked about LeBron James’ struggles.
“Well, first of all, that was an emotional night for him without question. He wanted badly to win the game and help the team play well. His effort was there. His efficiency was not what it normally is. That was obvious. We have to do a better job of getting him things in motion.”
Earlier in the day, James addressed what a big moment his return to Cleveland is and would be, not only for himself but for the city of Cleveland.
“I’ve had many of thoughts about what it might be, how loud it may be, how great it is to be back on this floor. It’s going to be exciting not only when my name is announced but the rest of the guys and our team just coming out on the floor and getting ready for hopefully another great year.”
Even though it didn’t have a happy ending tonight, LeBron James’ return to Cleveland was still something special that will be remembered for a very long time.
LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the Cavaliers will be back on the court tomorrow night, October 31, as they head to Chicago to take on the Bulls. Tip-off will be at 8 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.
[Image via Jason Miller/Getty Images]