(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James's first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. This summer, James opted out of his contract with Miami and decided to return to the Cavaliers.
On Sunday, James notched 12 points, four rebounds, and four assists in the first half, before sitting out the second half to rest. James has been dealing with a sore back.
"It feels great [being back in Cleveland]," James said.
Maccabi kept the game close in the first quarter, trailing by only six after the first 12 minutes of play, but the Cavaliers were able to build a 15-point lead by halftime. In the third quarter, the Cavaliers outscored Maccabi 28-16, building a 27-point lead that they would maintain in the final quarter.
"I thought in the first half, Maccabi played very well," Blatt said. "I knew they would. I know their offense. I know the people involved... I thought that both teams came out of the game more or less of what they wanted."