After all the hype coming into the game, James spent the first half like it was just another night at the office, making some nice drives, finding open shooters, scoring in transition, and moving without the basketball to set himself up for some highlight-reel finishes while locking his man down at the other end. In the third quarter, he really opened up, twisting the knife by pouring in 16 points on an array of dunks and tough jumpers.
James' third-quarter fireworks display put the Cavaliers away, but it was Wade's ultra-efficient first half that broke the game open for the Heat. Wade attacked the basket with a purpose from the get-go, finished when he got there, and even drained his first 3-pointer of the season for good measure.
The bad news? Bosh continues to struggle to get good looks at the rim while both James and Wade are on the floor. Bosh was able to hit some outside jumpers to keep the defense honest, but he was a non-factor going to the basket on pick-and-rolls and was regularly bottled up in both the low post and the mid-post when he tried to challenge the defense at the point of attack. The good news? The Heat didn't even need him on his game to dominate on Friday night.
The Heat opened the game on a 21-2 run and never looked back, keeping the Cavaliers well out of striking distance all night long thanks to some great play from James and Wade, great three-point shooting, and suffocating pick-and-roll defense. For a team that's had trouble holding big leads from time to time since the Big Three came together, Friday night's game showed that the Heat are more than capable of staying focused and putting away an inferior team without unnecessarily letting them back in the game.
A "Gentlemen's F" for LeBron's former squad. The Cavaliers' one chance against the Heat was to get off to a competitive start and let the extremely partisan crowd become a factor in the game: instead, they let the Heat get out to the aforementioned 21-2 run to start things off, which effectively quieted the crowd for the remaining three and a half quarters. To the Cavaliers' credit, they didn't completely fold after the first quarter, but they never really had a chance after coming out so flat against a team like the Heat.