The Cleveland Cavaliers season-opener which was billed as LeBron James' homecoming was crashed by the visiting New York Knicks who spoiled the party with a 95-90 victory on Thursday night.
LeBron James was embraced in every way imaginable before the contest but just after tip-off, the King looked rattled with emotions and uncharacteristically sloppy as he mustered only 17 points from 5 of 15 field goals along with 8 turnovers in the loss.
The Cavaliers attempted to rally late but clutch shooting from the Knicks and particularly superstar Carmelo Anthony, who finished with 25 points, staved off the Cleveland comeback and spoiled the homecoming for James.
It should no surprise to any NBA fans that the newly formed 'super team' in Cleveland will take some time to gel, much like the Miami Heat squad of 2010.
What was most surprising about the loss however is that the Knicks were a far cry from the team that were embarrassed by a 24-point loss in their opener with the Chicago Bulls.
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The electric atmosphere inside Quicken Loans Arena seemingly got to James, it became evident early on that he was trying to hard to impress on his second-home debut for the Cavs.
Instead of attacking the basket aggressively like the locomotive we are accustomed to seeing, he began to try and dish the ball unselfishly which resulted in an early 1 for 9 shooting performance along with four turnovers.
Elsewhere on the court, new recruit Kevin Love quietly went about his business and showed flashes of the dominant power forward that had been hidden away in Minnesota, he rebounded menacingly and shot the ball well from distance.
A worried stir began to fill the arena though as the New York Knicks who many predicted to roll over hung around, the much talked about Triangle offence wasn't thrown out the window but the team drifted away into singular offence created by Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith.
The performance by the high volume shooters in their attempts to pick up the road win gave precedence to the famous Michael Jordan quote:
"I had to tell Tex, 'Sorry about your triangle.' - Michael Jordan"
Anthony had other ideas
The bench of New York heavily outscored the Cleveland pine unit and rookie head coach David Blatt may arguably have overworked his starters, free agent signings Mike Miller and Shawn Marion who display veteran leadership only combined for 13 minutes.
Anthony was the man to sink the dagger as the Cavaliers dragged the game close, his clutch baseline jumper over James silenced the home crowd as they realised an opening day loss would ruin the return of their hometown hero.
Both Blatt and James have preached that expectations are unnecessarily high on this young unit and things will take time before they can produce a championship contending squad.
Too early to judge the Cavaliers, as the same with the New York Knicks, both teams have playoff aspirations and are led by small forward superstars but one thing is for certain at the moment, Cleveland are 0-1 to start the campaign.
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