The day, the night and the event was so special and far bigger and more important than the outcome of the game itself. Yes it sucked the Cavs lost 95-90 to the Knicks, but after standing near LeBron in pregame warmups and seeing him soak in everything just like you the fans did, and then interviewing him in the locker room postgame, you could tell how much being back home and the night meant to him.
All of the emotions LeBron felt last night, even for a superstar of his magnitude, it had to affect his focusness and ability to play his normal game, and by his standards, he was terrible last night in the contest (5-15fg for 17 points with 8 turnovers). Add on top of that he and his wife Savanah had a baby girl about week ago, it’s been a crazy week even for “King James”.
Being part of his postgame press conference and asking a lot of the question because it seemed like some reporters were afraid to ask questions because the Cavs lost and LeBron played so poorly, I sensed that LeBron knew how special the night was, he enjoyed it, was disappointed in his play, but realized the game wasn’t the most important thing on this night. Coming home was! He was mentally and physically drained after last night’s game. With that out of the way, he and his teammates can fix what they did wrong on the court and now just play basketball.
The atmosphere inside Quicken Loans Arena before the game was unlike any other regular season game and very NBA Finals like. It really was truly amazing.
The Cavaliers issued over 300 media credentials, the most ever in either LeBron era for a regular season game, including even when LeBron came back for the first time with the Miami Heat in 2010.
Usher did a nice job with the National Anthem, but what made it so memorable was the entire crowd singing it for about the last thirty seconds. It was a goosebumps moment.
The new scoreboard, the “Humungotron” , even though it had a few malfunctions last night, is awesome! It’s high def, crystal clear video from all angles. Sources tell me that the “Humungotron” and all the LED lights that were put up around the arena cost over $9 million dollars.
The player introductions were great and when LeBron James was announced it blew the lid off of Quicken Loans Arean. No matter who you were, it was hard not to get caught up in the emotion of the LeBron intro and just everything the entire night was about and that was before the game even started.
Lost in LeBron’s return was how well Kevin Love played in his first game as a Cavalier. He was the team’s best player on the floor versus Knicks, scoring 19 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. He’s a double/double machine and is going to be great playing alongside LeBron and Kyrie when they get this thing figured out.
Kyrie Irving was pretty good too. He led the team in scoring with 22 points, while also dishing out 7 assists and grabbing 5 rebounds. However even he admitted last night that at times the offense became stagnant and lacked ball movement because of him and that affected his teammates.
David Blatt did not have a good first game and he admitted that in his postgame press conference. Blatt knew after the fact that playing basically only 7 guys the majority of the time in game #1 was not a good coaching move. He needed to go to his bench more and not play LeBron and Kyrie 43 minutes each. He is a rookie coach and learned a valuable lesson in his first game.
It was phenomenal to be a part of that spectacle at The Q last night, but like LeBron and his teammates, we can all just move on and watch this group of new players play and grow into a team that has a chance to be very special come April, May and June.