On Tuesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers lost their 10th game in 14 tries when they fell to the lowly Orlando Magic.
Not only did they lose, but they did so in embarrassing fashion. After blowing a double-digit lead, it appeared as though Cleveland gave up down the stretch, showing very little visible emotion or effort. The result was a 116-98 beatdown.
The outcome was even more of a reminder that the Cavs are currently struggling in an unprecedented way for a LeBron James-led squad. It also suggested that at least one move needed to be made before Thursday's trade deadline. LeBron was even asked by reporters if he would waive his no-trade clause, creating the unbelievable storyline that Cleveland could try to trade the superstar.
But, LeBron quickly refuted that idea, claiming that he was in Cleveland “for the long haul” and is fully committed to turning things around this season.
Judging by his performance on Wednesday, he wasn’t kidding.
Squaring off against Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota Timberwolves, James turned in an incredible performance with 37 points on 16-of-22 shooting, 15 assists and 10 rebounds for his ninth triple-double of the season.
He was sensational and clutch at both ends of the court. Right after blocking Butler on the defensive end of the floor and with the score tied at 138 a piece in overtime, King James proved exactly why he’s considered royalty.
The buzzer-beating game-winning turnaround over Butler’s outstretched hand gave Cleveland a much-needed victory and also showed that the current group can take down one of the best teams in the league on any given night. It was a boost of confidence that was desperately desired, even though the Cavs have been to three-straight NBA Finals.
After the shot, it looked like a huge weight had been lifted off James' shoulders.
Overall, it was another classic battle between Butler and James. The Timberwolves wing has always matched up well against LeBron and he put the T-Wolves on his back throughout this contest as well.
Below was LeBron’s block on Butler, which helped keep the game tied before the heroics occurred.
Before heading into the locker room, LeBron expressed exactly how much the victory meant to his team.
“It was a great win for us; we needed this after that tough loss last night in Orlando,” James told ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth. “The fans were unbelievable. Our guys stuck with it even though they were shooting the heck out of the ball. Man, they shot 58 percent from the field and we were still able to get a win, but we played Cavaliers basketball tonight and that’s all we can ask for.”
It was Cleveland’s first victory when playing on national television this year. They had previously been 0-8 in such games.
The Cavs will begin a three-game road trip on Friday when they square off against the Atlanta Hawks. They will then have two tests against the Boston Celtics on Sunday and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday before returning home to host the Washington Wizards next Thursday.
It remains to be seen if James’ shot propels his team forward with positive momentum or if their struggles will continue.