After all the hand-wringing debate about how Heat fans would deal with defector LeBron James' return to the AA Arena -- Would they boo? Would they jeer? Would they rain flaming Molotov cocktails upon the court? -- LBJ's introduction last night was a surprisingly business-like affair. A few fans booed, most clapped, and then life went on.
No one was more businesslike than Dwyane Wade. The other superstar on the court poured in 31 and led the Heat to a party-ruining win over LeBron's Cavs.
Wade looked like old Wade -- not just an old guy -- all night, even rising up above Kevin Love at one point for a ridiculous put-back jam.
He wasn't alone in helping Heat fans enjoy Christmas. Luol Deng added 25 points of his own and the team defense was sharp all night in quieting Kevin Love and LeBron's other weapons on the court.
The bench -- which included a still-injured Chris Bosh -- even chipped in with some MVP-worthy side-eye whenever LeBron got in the neighborhood:
OK, so in the end the game was just one meeting between old teammates. Everyone played down the tension evident in the arena, and LeBron and Wade spent the night laughing and joking between plays like old friends at the neighborhood pickup game.
"We didn't have a bad breakup," Wade told ESPN. "The weirdness just wasn't there."
But psychologically, the Heat needed this. Miami has been downright terrible in December, sinking all the way to seventh in the East and losing to the Philadelphia 76ers, who are basically fielding a Division II roster, at home.
Now, they've beat LeBron, exorcised some demons and yeah, sent fans home happy on Xmas.
That's a wrap.December 26, 2014