It was a rough four years after LeBron decided to, “Take his talents to South Beach.” Basketball was boring. The Cavs were terrible. There was no hope, very little faith, a deflated feeling immersed the entire city of Cleveland. LeBron was gone, nothing was there for us to cling to.

Those magical playoff runs were gone. The sweaty palms, the pit in our stomachs, the bitting of nails. Those screams of joy, screams of anger, yelps of shock and surprise. It was an up-and-down roller coaster, but any Cavs fan loved it. While we never won that glorious title, the playoff ride was great in itself. Well, until we were eliminated.

So we all know the story. It’s been told many times before. This past summer, LeBron made his magical return back to Cleveland with his wonderful letter on SI’s website. To start his first season back, things were tough. After a few tweaks, a couple of trades and time to gel, this team was ready to compete for the title.

Sunday afternoon’s game against the Houston Rockets was the first taste of that playoff feeling that we all loved so much. Obviously, over the past four years the Cavaliers played in some very close games with thrilling finishes. That being said, in the overall scheme of things those contests didn’t matter because the team was far away from the playoffs.

T’was an absolute battle between two NBA giants. Our beloved LeBron and the Rockets’ James Harden. In a back and fourth affair, the Cavaliers fell 105-103 in overtime. In a chance to take the lead, down only a single point, James missed two foul shots with 4.2 seconds to go. However, this isn’t a recap. The loss stung, that’s the recap.

Leading up to that disappointing finish, each and every possession was tense. It was close all the way through. A battle between two great teams. And most importantly, there was obviously some bad blood. James and Rockets guard Patrick Beverley got into an altercation after LeBron tried to push himself up off of Beverley’s chest after a foul where they both fell to the floor. Later, Harden, from the floor, kicked LeBron in the groin, and the King rightfully took major offense to that. It was a dirty play, and in my opinion Harden should have been ejected. Why is a kick different from a punch?

While Cavaliers elite point guard Kyrie Irving didn’t play, the Cavs, led by James, turned this game into a battle. Something very familiar to us Cleveland fans if you think back to the series’ against Washington, Boston and Detroit back in the first stint of LeBron’s career here in Cleveland. Those were some thrilling rivalries, with plenty of battles potent enough to give you a heart attack.

Through and through, it’s very exciting just to be back in the swing of things. To know that an exciting post season awaits, and that the greatest player on the planet, although he struggled at the line Sunday afternoon, is on our side is an exciting feeling.

The goal is a championship, but the run to get there is very special too. These Cavaliers have the talent and the chemistry to make it to the promise land. Thankfully, we have the opportunity to watch them make the run.

Appreciate the great games, because we know all to well that the thrill can be taken away from you in a second. We’re starting to get those playoff feels.

-Zach Shafron

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