LeBron James again refused to apologize for his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers following the Miami Heat's 118-90 blowout of the Cavs at Quicken Loans Arena.
Perhaps that was because the game only affirmed he made the right choice to depart.
The Cavs' poor performance showed they do not have the supporting cast to win a championship. Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson and Antawn Jamison shot a combined 12 for 32 as the Cavs hit 35. 5 percent from the field. J.J. Hickson scored six points in the first three minutes and finished with six for the game.
More than that, the Cavs showed they don't have the toughness required to survive the rigors of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Failing to rise to the occasion Thursday may have turned off many die-hard fans. If owner Dan Gilbert was wavering on whether to blow things up and start over, he got all the evidence he needed. Gilbert even abandoned his court-side seat in the second half.
Coach Byron Scott didn't show any anger in his post-game remarks, which seemed stunning.
Asked if his team got caught up in the moment, Scott said, "We got a lot of good looks, we missed a lot of shots, a lot of shots that we've been knocking down on a consistent basis. Tonight we tried to rely on the offense. When we started missing shots all of a sudden we started getting down on ourselves and then it affects us on the defensive end. That's how most young teams play. I'm not discouraged, I'm not embarrassed, I'm disappointed. I've got a lot of faith in the guys in that locker room and we're going to keep fighting.''
While the game showed what the Cavs don't have, it may have galvanized the Heat, who dedicated its efforts to ex-Cavs James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
"This is the first time we've really seen this connection all year long,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said afterward. "I can't say that I sensed this coming. We've had an adverse week. The world was ready to come down on Heat Nation and now we have put together three nice wins.
"To show that competitive spirit for the two brothers, the game meant so much for LeBron and Big Z. I'm glad to see as a collective group we stepped up to play as one. It was really a group of players trying to play for each other and really trying to show that respect for each other."
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