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Blood Battle

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 11/29/2010 5:59:19 PM

The venom starting pouring out of the fans the moment LeBron James pronounced “in this fall, I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat.”

And the venom will continue to be evident this Thursday night when the Miami Heat roll into Ohio to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It got ugly quick. Hours after the staged ESPN announcement by James, the Cavs owner, Dan Gilbert , lashed out like a wounded tiger.

In part, this is what he said, Gilbert: “as you know our former hero is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier. I want to make one statement, I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA Championship before the self-titled former ‘king’ wins one.

“This shocking act of disloyalty from out homegrown ‘chosen one’ sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want out children to learn. The self-declared former ‘King’ will be taking the ‘curse’ with him down south.”

Harsh words for anybody but come on, it is a business. Owners wheel and deal and cut players almost every single day in sports and the truth of the matter is that James didn’t do anything illegal or wrong, it was just the way he staged the thing that put so many sports fans off.

To get back to reality, let’s look at the teams straight up and how this game may unfold Thursday. As far as the ‘curse’ thing, that has almost come to fruition already.

Perimeter Miami shooter Mike Miller had a freak accident in training camp and has yet to play a regular season game and then Miami lost their toughest player in Udonis Haslem, who must have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his foot.

The most important Miami player other than James, Dwayne Wade, got hurt 3 minutes into the preseason and although he is back on the court, the rust is still evident.

Still with all the setbacks for the Heat, they have started out better than the Cavs winning 9 of their first 16 while Cleveland only won 6 of their first 15 events.

Cleveland will be coming off a day’s rest after hosting Boston on Tuesday, while Miami had to fly from Florida after playing Detroit so they will be in a back-to-back situation.

Match-up wise, both squads are under manned down low. Chris Bosh shies away from contact and Heat starting center Zydrunas Illgaukas is more of a pick and roll perimeter force.

Z has been sharing minutes with the inexperienced Joel Anthony.

Anderson Varejao is a power forward that has been thrust into the role of center for the Cavs. He is a good energy guy but is not a real force in the paint.

You have a push at the point with Carlos Arroyo and Anthony Parker and the edge at the 2 guard to Wade over Mo Williams.

The good thing for Cleveland is they have a young guy in J.J. Hickson to try to stay with Lebron.

Spread-wise, the Cavs started year 7-8 vs. the number while the Heat, as one would expect, was over bet and only covered 5 of their first 11.

When the noise escalates and the ball is tipped to start the game expect Miami to be favored but at the end, look for the Cavs to play with heart, poise and determination to cover.

This just might prove to be one for the ages.

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