Baltimore Sun

Bring it, LeBron; Cavs, fans will be ready

A lot of people have asked me this week if I'll be watching LeBron James returning to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Thursday night. Of course I will. I'm a Cavs fan and since a certain superstar took his talents to South Beach I've had few opportunities to see my hometown team on TV.

But I won't be watching to see how James does. I'll be watching to see how my favorite team does. I was a Cavs fan before James and I'm one now.


Am I surprised at how the Heat has struggled? Nope. I said when James made "The Decision" that the team was missing two key ingredients to winning a championship: Defense (especially interior defense) and a point guard (especially one who could guard Rajon Rondo of the Celtics or Jameer Nelson of the Magic). The team is still missing those key ingredients and that's why it's 10-8.

The Cavs are 7-10 and probably about where they should be. They might sneak into the playoffs. Or they might trade some veterans and really start rebuilding.


Here's what I expect to see Thursday night:

*Cleveland fans will boo James like they've never booed before. Good. Let it out. But fans should listen to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who told the Associated Press Tuesday night that "I'm over it. I really am. That's the truth. I let it all out in about 24 hours." The next time James and the Heat come back to Cleveland, fans should welcome him like the guy who lifted a town on his back for seven years and brought a horrible team to the brink of greatness. He just let us down in the end.

*James to have a monster game. His teammates will make it a point to set him up. He does rise to the occasion at times, just not in the playoffs.

*A competitive game. The Cavs should play with a chip on their shoulder and come up big. Remember, James not only turned his back on Cleveland, he turned his back on his teammates. They'd like nothing better than to beat him.

For his part, Gilbert is trying to look to the future: "I just think we have such a great core and a great coachign staff. We have a lot of opportunities with the trade exception and the draft. I feel good about this team."

So do I.

Photos by Getty Images, US Presswire