On January 14, the Cleveland Cavaliers were reeling and things seemed to only be getting worse.
LeBron James had just missed eight games with back and knee injuries with the team going 1-7 in his absence.
In James’ first game back, he was seen shoving head coach David Blatt, something James would later explain was an attempt to keep Blatt from receiving a technical foul.
The Cavs would go on to lose that game against the Phoenix Suns, their sixth loss in a row.
Blatt was taking so much heat for the Cavs’ struggles that the team’s general manager had to adamantly make it clear that the rookie head coach’s job was not in jeopardy.
But then Blatt did something strange.
On the day after the loss to the Suns, the players got on the team bus in Los Angeles thinking they were heading to practice in preparation for a game against the Lakers the following day.
But instead of going to the arena, the bus went to a bowling alley.
According to Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, several players figured out something was up on the bus but had no idea where they were going until they got to the bowling alley.
Kevin Love said it was a surprise, but that it “helped so much,” adding that the team “need a break from it all.”
The Cavs went out and beat the Lakers the next night and have won every game since, with their streak reaching 11 in a row against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
The streak is reminiscent of another streak during LeBron’s first season with the Miami Heat.
James caused a stir when he bumped coach Eric Spoelstra on the way to the bench during a loss to the Dallas Mavericks (0:20 mark of the video below).
Some thought the bump was intentional and the loss dropped the Heat to just 9-8. But starting with their next game, the Heat went on a 12-game winning streak and suddenly looked unstoppable on their run to the NBA Finals.
Of course, it helps having LeBron in the lineup and it was smart for Blatt to use his ploy before a game against the lowly Lakers. But the players appear to have bought in and now LeBron once again is playing on a team that looks tough to beat.
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