Everyone knows LeBron James is bigger than the Cleveland Cavaliers. That might be an unhealthy situation for a basketball team or any sports organization, but that’s the way it’s been since he returned to the team following a very successful four-year absence, winning championships and making NBA finals.
The most recent example of James doing whatever he wants happened on a night that shouldn’t have had anything too problematic about it. The Cavaliers were cruising to victory against the Atlanta Hawks (eventually winning 109-97) and at the point of his substitution incident, were leading by 26 points.
James was angry at the Cavaliers not playing well. A pass from Jared Cunningham missed James and went out of bounds. Knowing he was about to be subbed off, James simply went to the Cavaliers bench without being allowed to yet. This led to a 5-on-4 situation for a few seconds before the officials realized what happened, and put a technical foul on James. No harm done in the long run, but it just goes to show how little control there is over James.
I blew a gasket. I apologized to my teammates for it. James didn’t have any complicated explanations for the incident. He thought we were playing hockey. Hockey sub. You know, `Bron is a lot of things, a lot of great things, but probably where you’re not going to see him is out there playing for the Rangers. I understand his frustration but obviously he shouldn’t do that. That’s the most you’ll hear out of David Blatt about the incident. It’s hard to tell whether or not a different player doing this would have resulted in a more severe reaction.
It didn’t really matter if he did sub himself or not. The Cavaliers cruised to victory against a team they swept in the conference finals six months ago. Kevin Love led the way with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while James was two assists shy of a triple double, finishing with a 19-11-8 stat line. J.R. Smith scored 15 points and Matthew Dellavedova added 12. Still no Kyrie Irving or Iman Shumpert, but the 10-3 Cavs are perfect at home and by far the best team in the East, although the main goal is something a little bit bigger.