MIAMI — There wasn’t any yapping between LeBron James and his former Cleveland teammates Wednesday night, nothing close to the trash talking in that infamous Dec. 2 game in Cleveland.
“I don’t think they’re allowed to talk to me,” James said with a smile before the Heat defeated the Cavaliers, 101-95, on Wednesday.
Article continues below ...
Cavs players were allowed to talk to James, but no one seemed interested in a repeat of those ugly events from Cleveland. That aspect of this matchup seems to be over.
Now, roughly two weeks removed from that initial Heat-Cavs face-off, everybody blames hype, environment and circumstance for the trash-talking episode. The atmosphere in Miami on Wednesday wasn’t nearly as toxic as it was in Cleveland on Dec. 2.
“It was nowhere near as weird as it was back in Cleveland,” James said, confirming the normalcy.
That meant James didn’t have to talk trash. In fact, he didn’t say a word Wednesday.
“Nah,” Cavs guard Daniel Gibson said when asked if there was any trash talking either way. “Tonight we just came out and played the game. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
And that last game?
“The environment out there was crazy so everybody’s emotions were high,” Gibson said. “A lot of things happened that game. It was just a very intense and emotional game.”
The Heat extended its winning streak to 10 games with Wednesday’s victory. James ended with 21 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, Dwyane Wade had 28 points, and Chris Bosh had 16 points.
That’s not where this story ends, however. We have to go back to that Dec. 2 game in Cleveland. Among the many storylines from that frigid night at Quicken Loans Arena was the venomous exchanges between James and his former teammates, guys he calls friends. He still considers them friends. He said he hates to see the team struggling during this nine-game losing streak.
“As friends to some of those guys, to a few of those guys,” he said, seemingly lessening the number of Cavs he considers friends, “I definitely don’t want to see my friends lose.”
In the next breath, though, James said he might do more trash talking. He didn’t, as it turned out. He was on good behavior all night.
“He was good, normal,” said center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a Heat teammate who was a Cavs teammate for seven years.
Apparently the trash talking got so severe in Cleveland that Cavs guard Daniel Gibson, who considered himself James’ friend, thought their friendship was fractured.
“I thought there was too much made of it,” Gibson said.
He’s right, of course. But that doesn’t mean the story will die. Even Gibson admitted as much. As long as James is with Miami, the Heat-Cavs matchup will always be a hot one.
“Always, always,” Gibson said. “Everybody knows what happened. Us wearing that