Cavs/Heat first half notes: LeBron gets booed, can still ball

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Some notes from the first half of LeBron James’ return to Cleveland, where the Heat are blowing out the Cavs 59-40 at the half:

• Oh, he got booed. When LeBron came out for pregame warmups he was greeted by very loud boos, followed by a chant of “a—hole.”

• One fan was ejected for running up, pointing and screaming in LeBron’s face as they came out of the tunnel for warmups, according to the Akron Becon Journal.

• For contrast Zydrunas Ilgauskas got a very loud ovation during pregame introductions.

• Interestingly, Cleveland wearing white home uniforms, Cavs in wine colored road jerseys.

• Everyone in the building said the game had the energy of a big postseason game. Well, at least at the start.

• LeBron did the powder toss, the chorus of boos bot even louder.

• There didn’t seem to be a lot of creative signs shown on the TNT broadcast, but my favorite seen in a tweet was “Akron Hates You Too!”

• As expected every time he touched the ball LeBron was booed. The Cavaliers hung with the Heat for a little while, starting with a real burst of adrenalin. That wore off, by the way.

• The Heat started the game in that very stagnant offense again, allowing Cavs to overload on LeBron and other ballhandlers. The Cavs then seem just happy to settle. Eventually they started to attack and do better against the Cavs defense, but could they do that against a better team?

• In the first quarter the “de-lon-te” chants start. Some other profane chants were mixed in. There was some creative stuff on the Internet but little if any seems to have made is way into the arena.

• James has 10 first quarter points on 4 of 8 shooting, and played the entire quarter. Two of those points came on a very impressive up and under.

• Heat shot 54 percent, (59 percent eFG) in the first quarter, 52.4 percent and 5 of 11 from three for the half. They also got to the line more,

• Things just got worse for the Cavaliers as the game went on and the limitations of what is left on their roster were exposed. The Cavs shot 28.9 percent for the half.

• LeBron James spent a lot of the breaks in play joking around with his former teammates on the Cavaliers bench — while the fans in Cleveland hate LeBron, the players apparently do not. By the way, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert sits right behind the Cavaliers bench, so this really has to grate on him.

For a couple grand, Warriors fans can have Larry O’Brien Trophy visit their suite

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There’s so much money floating around the Bay Area right now thanks to another tech boom, this price almost seems low.

If you have a suite for the Golden State Warriors home games this season — and those are pretty much sold out, the Warriors draw big from the Silicon Valley crowd — you can have the NBA championship Larry O’Brien Trophy visit your suite. All for just a couple grand. From Gilbert Lee, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

The best part is it includes champagne… do you get to spray each other with it as you hold up the trophy? Now that would be perfect (goggles included, of course).

Have an issue with this? Why? To the victor goes the spoils. The Warriors may be able to sell this package for years.

Sixers new “Spirit of 76” court is fire

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First, the Sixers nailed the Nike “statement” jersey.

Now, they have announced a new “Spirit of 76” promotion, with seven tribute nights this season honoring the history of the franchise and of the Philadelphia area (and there is plenty of history to honor).

The best part — the “Spirit of 76” court with the bell logo.

Here is the promo vid

I just hope the Sixers team can live up to all the hype.

Wizards’ Markieff Morris to have sports hernia surgery, miss start of camp

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When the Washington Wizards open training camp next Tuesday, starting forward Markieff Morris will not be on the court.

That’s because he will have surgery to repair a sports hernia, a story broken by Candice Buckner of the Washington Post and since confirmed by Chase Hughes at CSNMidAtlantic.com.

While we don’t have details on the surgery, often recovery time for this is just a few weeks, and Morris could well be ready for the start of the season.

Morris averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds a game last season, and the Wizards offense was 5.7 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court last season. With him out, coach Scott Brooks can lean on Jason Smith or Mike Scott for traditional lineups, but don’t be shocked if he tries a little small ball with Otto Porter and/or Kelly Oubre at the three or four.

Morris also is in the midst of a felony assault trial in Arizona (one where he does not need to attend).

Sixers enter camp with Joel Embiid not cleared for 5-on-5, Jahlil Okafor on trade block

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This is the season the 76ers make the leap from team with potential to playoff team fast on the rise.

Maybe.

That’s the plan in Philly, but there are a lot of questions for this team to answer. While a couple of these issues are answered already — Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are cleared to play and practice with teammates — a couple big ones still hang around. At the top of the list is “how healthy is Joel Embiid?” Coach Brett Brown doesn’t even have that answer yet, reports Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

It’s this simple: The Sixers outscored opponents by 3.3 points per 100 possessions when Embiid was on the court last season, he was a dominant force defensively who scored 20.2 points a game. When he was off the court the Sixers were 11.5 points per 100 possessions worse. They need him to play and play consistently if the Sixers have playoff dreams. It’s unclear when Embiid will return, but know that the Sixers will be cautious with his minutes again when he does get cleared (he has played just 31 games in three seasons).

Does that mean more Jahlil Okafor? Maybe not, the Sixers are still willing to trade him.

The Sixers have shopped Okafor for most of a year and found no deal they like. Okafor battled knee issues last season and, after a summer working to get healthy, other teams will want to see him play a little before talking trade. If he comes to camp slimmed down and his knee looks right, it could revive trade talks. Using a back-to-the-basket game, he averaged 11.8 points a night shooting 51 percent last season, he’s efficient, and some teams could use what he does (off the bench).

It’s going to be an interesting season in Philly. Are they playoff bound?