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Cleveland Cavs’ Hopes Soar Without LeBron

J.J. Hickson will be key to whatever success the Cavs have in 2010-11. J.J. Hickson will be key to whatever success the Cavs have in 2010-11.

The biggest news in the NBA this off-season was the departure of LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers in favor of the Miami Heat. Chris Bosh joined James, while Dwayne Wade stayed home in the Sunshine State to round out the superstar trio and create a dream team. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics stood pat, looking for another trip to the NBA championship finals via the Eastern Conference playoffs.

But what happened back in Cleveland? The whole team was shaken up by the LeBron leaving, and the Cavs scrambled to put together a group that few pundits suggest will find much success in 2010-11.

 The Celtics and Heat met on the first day of the season and Boston came away with a big win in what most people saw as a preview of the Eastern Conference finals. And then, lo and behold, the NBA season kicked off and turned the basketball world on its ear. 

For the Celtics’ next game, they played Cleveland. In a stunning upset, the Cavs defeated Boston 95-87 to open their season on a positive note. Clearly the NBA schedule makers and the basketball gods have a sense of humor.

Okay, so it’s still early, and the first couple of games don’t mean that much, but Boston getting the better of the Heat gave Cleveland a chance to show up LeBron James after he turned his back on their organization.

Say what you want about James leaving Cleveland, right or wrong, it made for some irate Cavs’ fans. And with the Cavaliers accomplishing something Miami couldn’t in the first week of the season, well, it makes for a small dose of redemption.

Cleveland was led by J.J. Hickson’s 21-point effort against Boston. The Cavs will need more big games from players like Hickson if they hope to get a sniff at the post-season this year. And based on game one, it’s not out of the question.

That said, nobody is changing their predictions for the season just yet. It’s a long year and the Cavs have a huge challenge in front of them in their first year of rebuilding. Meanwhile, the Celtics and the Heat are both too good to go on losing many more games. But there are no foregone conclusions in sports. That’s why the games are played.

Cleveland Cavs fans can rejoice for the moment. And let them hope for a while. What can it hurt? In the meantime, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh will persist with their superstar act while Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett do the same for the Boston Celtics. But if this week’s games caused a stir. Just wait until the Cavs and Heat hook ‘em up.

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Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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