Cleveland built a nine-point lead in the first quarter and seemed ready to build on it when James made a surprising mistake.

James took over from there, delivering another tour de force performance that didn’t seem likely when he was being treated by the medical staff and the Cavs playing sluggishly.

Still, Villanueva deemed it “unacceptable” to use him in the anthem debate and is ready to move on from the ongoing issue that has seemingly divided fans.

“There’s tension between the veteran community and the NFL. You go to VFWs, and they won’t show NFL games,” Villanueva said. “[Veterans] don’t know if it’s, ‘Do we have to live in a utopian, perfect country for you to stand up for the national anthem?’ It’s a very tough concept for a lot of veterans to understand.

Seattle signed the 37-year-old Freeney last month, adding him to a defensive line rotation that had lost Cliff Avril to injured reserve. Freeney recorded a sack in his Seahawks debut, then two more the following week. He averaged 28 snaps over his first three games, then played 17 in Seattle’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had no answers and would have probably preferred no questions after the game, making it very clear that what went on Sunday — and has gone on from time to time this season — is going to end.

The 7-2 Saints have won seven in a row (same as the Eagles, the longest current run in the NFL), and have managed to look even more complete than the team they’re chasing … and that team dropped 51 on the Broncos in their last game.


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