You can make a lot of Cleveland jokes.
The city hasnâ€™t won a major sports championship in 47 years. Drew Carey is from there.
But most importantly, thereâ€™s the joke that LeBron James ditched his home city because he couldnâ€™t bear it anymore.
All that aside, the Cleveland Cavaliers owned James and the Heat on Tuesday night.
Cleveland mightâ€™ve felt more betrayed than any other team in sports history when James took his talents to South Beach. Whether it was the burning of Jamesâ€™ jersey, the infant-like tantrum by Cavs General Manager Dan Gilbert or the taking down of Jamesâ€™ â€œWitnessâ€ mural that hung in downtown Cleveland, the breakup was one for the ages.
Everybody knew that the Cavs would not be able to back up Gilbertâ€™s lofty expectations of winning a title before the Heat. Anybody who could walk and talk wouldâ€™ve predicted that the Cavs record would take an epic hit. But none couldâ€™ve predicted how ugly it would get for the Cavs.
Consider this. Their 26-game losing streak set an NBA record for the longest losing streak in league history. The phrase #thelasttimethecavswon was trending on Twitter for nearly a week. But while they couldnâ€™t buy a win, the Cavs were ranked third in the NBA in home attendance, ahead of Jamesâ€™ Heat.
That brings us to Tuesday night, where the Cavs hosted their former king in front of a sold-out crowd. It would have been easy for the Cleveland faithful to stay home after the 28-point beating they took from the Heat on Dec. 2.
But that just wouldnâ€™t have been the Cleveland way.
If you did not know both teamsâ€™ records, you mightâ€™ve thought they were playing in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The sellout crowd was on its feet, living and dying with every play. That crowd came in wanting to harass James and his cohorts, and executed it perfectly.
In an era of buddy-buddy style play, it was refreshing to see two bitter spouses slugging it out for custody.
The Cavs were the unpopular high school guy that was made popular by the cheerleader who was dating them for their personality. But the cheerleader dumped the guy to go date the star quarterback.
Deservingly so, the unpopular boy became the bitter, unpopular boy. The unpopular boy lost his popularity, while the cheerleader was doing better than ever.
Months later, the two ran into each other at a party. The unpopular boy ached at the sight of his ex-cheerleader girlfriend. Then the unpopular boy miraculously hooked up with Marisa Miller and became the life of the party that night.
It might seem a little far-fetched, but this was the Cavs story on Tuesday night.
Their season will go down as one of the worst in franchise history. Theyâ€™ll likely have to watch James make a deep run in the playoffs. Theyâ€™ll probably have a tight summer budget given their current financial predicament.
But nobody can take away that night from Cleveland. For one night, Cleveland got to feel joy that it hadnâ€™t felt in the post-James era. It didnâ€™t matter that the Cavs were boasting the NBAâ€™s worst record.
Often in sports, we forget to appreciate the moments that make a year. Celebrating that victory was an iconic moment that Clevelanders will not soon forget.
If there was ever a consolation prize for having a 15-58 record, Tuesday night was it. Cleveland has been singing the blues throughout itsâ€™ 47-year title drought.
But for one night, Cleveland rocked.