Behind the scenes of the Heat & Cavs dual stay in LA
NBA fans owe a level of gratitude to the folks from Disney on Ice and the Ringling Brothers: Barnum & Bailey Circus. As a result of the respective scheduling efforts of these two organizations, LeBron James' former and current teams found themselves in Los Angeles via another unique scheduling quirk, this time involving LA's two local NBA franchises.
With the ice show setting up shop in Cleveland for 10 days and the circus doing the very same in Miami, both the Cavs and Heat were forced to take their talents out west for extended road trips. The scheduling quirk involved a Tuesday night Cavs game vs. the Lakers and a Wednesday night Heat matchup vs. the Clippers, with off days in between. Let the drama ensue!
Below is a photographical and video chronicle of their respective trips to Tinseltown.
Both teams arrived in LA late Sunday night. The Cavs traveled in from Phoenix, while the Heat jetted down the Pacific Coast from Portland. Like many NBA teams, both of these squads almost always stay at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, located at the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills.
The Cavs decision to change hotels has been well chronicled over the last few days. The team claims it was for the benefit of the Beverly Wilshire's staff. Common sense would indicate that they moved so the team would not have to deal directly with Mr. James of Akron. The Cavs chose to relocate a few blocks east to the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles, also located in Beverly Hills.
Both teams were off on Monday, with the Cavs electing to hold practice at nearby UCLA. Sources confirm that LeBron James and several of his Heat teammates viewed the BCS National Championship Game at Mastro's Steakhouse, two blocks east of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
Tuesday, the Heat practiced at UCLA, while the Cavs prepared for what would turn out to be a historic night in franchise history. Below is a clip of head coach Byron Scott signing autographs for the TWO fans standing outside of the Four Seasons, as the Cavs were boarding the bus for Staples Center. In fact, the biggest happening at the Four Seasons on Tuesday was a media event for the new film “The Green Hornet.” Seth Rogen and Cameron Diaz clearly outshined the LeBron-less Cavs on this day.
Hours after the above video, the Cavs suffered their worst loss in franchise history, a 55 point drubbing courtesy of the two-time World Champion Lakers. The game's outcome generated an even bigger story involving James' now famous "Karma" Tweet. LeBron claims that he was just passing along someone else's message, but either way, James appears to be thoroughly enjoying the horrific play of his former squad.
Wednesday, the Heat prepared for their game vs. the Clippers by holding shootaround at the Bel Air mansion of sneaker tycoon Steve Jackson. The LA Gear chairman constructed a full size NBA floor inside his home. The court is an exact replica of the Lakers' home floor at Staples Center.
In the late afternoon, the Heat boarded their buses for the 11 mile trip to Staples Center, located in Downtown Los Angeles. While the scene at the Cavs hotel can be described as low key, the scene surrounding the Heat was the complete opposite. Roughly 30 autograph seekers stood near the Heat's charter. The group was made up of mostly knowledgeable NBA fans, who either desired a signature or simply just wanted to catch a glimpse of the league's new glamour team. It was interesting to view the different levels of treatment received by James, as compared to his All-Star teammate Dwyane Wade.
Wade, on the other hand, only received a playful ribbing from the fans. This situation was further evidence that James has become the NBA's number one villain, while Wade still garners respect from hoops fans throughout the country.
Later that night, the Heat's 13-game road winning streak would end after losing by six to the Clippers. During the fourth quarter, James injured his ankle on a drive to the basket. His postgame status was determined to be day-to-day. Karma anyone??
Immediately after the game, the Heat flew to Denver for Thursday night's game vs. the Nuggets.The Cavs trip to LA concludes during the day on Thursday when they fly to Salt Lake City for Friday night's game vs. the Jazz.
These respective flights to the Rocky and Wasatch Mountains mark the conclusion of an interesting few days of drama in where else but Hollywood.