CLEVELAND - Welcome back everyone!
It was a game that lived up to all of the advance hype, as the Cavaliers and Celtics battled until the final buzzer. In the end, Kyrie Irving's 3-pointer looked to be on course, but fell short as the Wine and Gold picked up the 102-99 victory at Quicken Loans Arena.
So what do we take from this game?
First and foremost, despite what he told Kristen Ledlow of TNT after the game, LeBron James really doesn't need the preseason to get himself ready for game action:
Seriously, King? James played 41 minutes on Tuesday night, scoring a game-high 29 points, grabbing 16 rebounds, and dishing out 9 assists. None of those assists bigger than this brilliant dish to Kevin Love, which provided the winning margin:
"I just found a familiar face and Kevin was in the right place at the right time," LeBron said afterwards.
That familiarity is going to be important for the Cavs in the early going as this new-look roster figures out how to play with each other. The Cavaliers used a ten-man rotation against Boston, including four players (Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder, Jeff Green) who weren't on the roster last season.
"We've got a long way to go," LeBron said when asked about how it will feel when everything comes together. "We've got so many players, so much talent. Tonight was a test for all of us to figure it out, but all in all, we got a win and it's good to get this thing back going. But it's a work in progress for sure."
LeBron and Dwyane Wade were asked about the gruesome ankle injury suffered by Gordon Hayward in the first quarter. My colleague Pat Chiesa got video of their responses on Twitter:
Our best wishes to Hayward for a speedy recovery.
Wrapping things up....
The LeBron James Says Highlight of the Game
This was fairly easy. The ankle that kept him out of action for most of the preseason didn't look bad at all on this dunk
The LeBron James Says Moment of the Game
It came after the final buzzer as James and Irving embraced after a hard-fought battle. Look, we'll never know all of the inside details as to why Kyrie wanted a divorce, and it's no longer important. He's in Boston now. But I love the fact that these guys will always have a special bond, and that includes Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, and the rest of the those who were a part of the 2016 NBA Championship team.
"Anytime you win a championship with someone, you automatically think about the moments and memories," LeBron said when asked about going up against Irving. "Especially with someone who was so instrumental with what we were able to accomplish."
This was pretty cool to see.
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