It hasn’t been pretty for the Cleveland Cavaliers since that fateful December 2nd day that saw their former savior LeBron James and his Miami Heat rip their jugular out and stomp repeatedly on their head in a 118-90 beatdown. Sitting at 7-10 when the ‘King’ came into town, the Cavs have since went 7-48, including 2 losses to Miami in Miami.
It’s safe to say that Cleveland hasn’t been the same since LeBron left.
On that fateful December night, the best moves from Cleveland’s side of things came from the vehemence of the fans in the stands. They showered their former idol with chants of ‘Akron hates you’ and ‘Scottie Pippen’, getting into his head early before James exploded for 24 points in the decisive third quarter.
In this March night, if things are going to get overly heated, it’s probably going to have from the Cavaliers bench as fan interest for this rematch is almost nonexistent. Sure, there will still going to be pockets of fervent naysayers, but for the most part, don’t expect the fervor that was seen in the first meeting.
"I don’t think it’s going to be quite that crazy," LeBron said when asked of his second return. "I don’t think it’s going to be a zoo like it was last time. It might be two notches below what it was. It’s still going to be a very intense type game. I think fans remember what happened last time we played here and so do we."
For the Cavaliers part, they are just looking to make it more competitive.
"I know it’ll be different," Cavs coach Byron Scott said. "The next time we played them in Miami was different and the next time we played them, we hung in there for a little while, then they got a run in the fourth quarter and blew the game wide open. Both of those games were much more physical, much more aggressive and much tighter.”
One thing is for certain this time around, there won’t be Cleveland players giving LeBron a hug or sitting back while he trash talks the bench this time around, two things that happened the first time around that incensed fans and head coach alike. For one thing, the Cavs lineup is a far cry from the one James is used to; Mo Williams and Jamario Moon has been traded while Anderson Varejao and Antawn Jamison are sidelined with injuries.
So it will be up to the new guys and the young guns to stand up for Cleveland pride this time around.
"We’re not going to be laughing and joking," said Baron Davis, who added he has a good relationship with James. "Ain’t going to be a lot of smiles."
Photo Courtesy of: AP Images