Thursday, December 2nd, 2010 at 1:30 pm  |  37 responses

Cavs Ready for LeBron James’ Return

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

The Cleveland Cavaliers, valiant as their early-season effort has been, are who we thought they’d be once LeBron bolted for South Beach: A scrappy, but ultimately, crummy team.

With the whole world’s eyes on their city tonight (and its complex, fascinating relationship with sports teams and stars), it’ll be interesting to see just how the Cavs players handle the atmosphere. A win would do wonders for the team’s and city’s collective psyche.

This might as well be Cleveland’s version of Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

James’ former teammates have been guarded with their comments about him, but reading between the lines, it’s easy to tell they’re still hurting from his departure. Not the ridiculous way he announced his decision, but the actual decision itself.

From ESPN:

While many Cavs fans may have been celebrating some of the Heat’s early season struggles, it hasn’t been seen that way in the Cavs’ locker room. To a man, none faults James for exercising his free agent rights. But as basketball players they’re having some problems coming to grips with it. That’s especially true as they experience their own struggles and see the Heat having issues fitting in with James after they’d nearly perfected it. “The situation he had here was great,” said Cavs guard Daniel Gibson, who has been a friend of James the past four years. We were the best team in the regular season for the last couple of years. He was the league MVP. It was past a good fit. It was a great fit. That’s why it caught us by surprise. I didn’t think he would leave.”

Some of James’ friends on the Cavs keep in touch with him. But there seems to be a discomfort about the message James sent them with his decision to sign in Miami: that they weren’t good enough for him. “He knows he had a good supporting cast last year,” said Mo Williams, whose once strong personal relationship with James has eroded since July. “At least I hope that didn’t have anything to do with his decision. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. Everybody knows we were good.” But not good enough apparently. The Cavs have problems — they’re 7-10 — but seeing James struggle to find his footing with the Heat has given some in Cleveland some private reassurance.

Despite some plane trouble, the Heat made it to Cleveland. The most anticipated game of the regular season is here, at last. And both teams say they’re ready.

We’ll find out very quickly tonight for whom this game matters to the most.

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  • JTaylor21

    It’s funny that No-Show Mo Williams is the one talking about Bron having a good supporting cast in cleveland when he’s the one that bombed in the playoffs year after year. The cavs last year with bron were 12-5 and this year they are 7-10, that shows you just how “great” his supporting cast was.

  • http://klatschendom.wordpress.com/ speedy

    LeBron James gave Cleveland some great exciting seven years. This, for me, is a long time in basketball.
    He gave all he got if you look at his stats and highlights. He made the Cavaliers relevant as a single star player with good supporting teammates.
    The way he left was not very smart but that a whole town hates him now is something I do not understand. And now the fans will boo a player, that gave them seven years of his career, and don’t thank him.

  • http://theurbangriot.com The Nupe

    It’s still early in the season and yes there is a story about LBJ coming back to cleveland, but it really is just another game. Security will be high and all the microphones in the crowd will have a delay as there is going to be a lot of curse words thrown in the direction of LBJ. I think a lot of people will be tuned into TNT tonight just to see if any fan violence erupts in LBJ’s direction. It would be great if they play Lebrons ‘what should I do’ commercial responses from Cleveland and the one mashed from Michael Jordan.

  • Chazz Michael Michaels

    lol get boned in the butt

  • T-Money

    For some reason, I have a feeling that the “strong” relationship between Mo and James was a one-way street. It has been reported that he keeps in touch with Boobie, JJ and Jawad – no mention of Mo.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Mo should retire at halftime

  • underdog

    Who cares about LBJ, it’s the return of the Z.

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    I wonder where the Cavs would be right now under Scott’s Princeton offense if Lebron had stayed. Not saying that outta hate; just saying.

  • http://www.slamonline.com peter

    JTaylor…actually that doesn’t tell you anything because the team was built to support LBJ. If you have a car and take out the engine, its not going to run you see?

  • The Philosopher

    The King is such a great basketball player.
    So great in fact, that Maurice Williams ACTUALLY thought that The King had a great supporting cast.
    Can you believe that? One player’s skill (The King’s) can actually make people think that they are better than what they really are.

  • http://theurbangriot.com The Nupe

    Philosopher: They did/do have a great supporting cast. That’s the problem, the team is all supporting cast and no star to support. They have one of the deepest benches in the league. If the league had only second teams play second teams – the Cavs would be in championship contention. LeBron is a great player – no doubt about it. But that team was really set-up to play a certain way. As peter points out, if you take the engine out of a car, the car won’t run. That’s even if all the parts that support that engine are top of the line. If the Heat were made to support LBJ, they would have a much better record than they do now, however since all the parts weren’t made for each other (like the Cavs were with LBJ) they aren’t performing up to par.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    @JTaylor- That comment makes no sense. Did you expect the Cavs to be the same or better WITHOUT James? The best player they had left, of course their record would be worse. That doesn’t mean the supporting cast is/was bad.

    Mo Williams man crsuh on Lebron is sickening tho. The night of the decision he was on twitter crying like he caught his wife cheating on him. Even said he contemplated retirement because he was so hurt. GTFOH!

  • The Philosopher

    The Nupe:
    Don’t pay me any mind.
    I’m just trying to be an ass.

  • Da Holy Karron

    This year he will be hated hell maybe even next but Cavs fans if they real and if they was him with that managment would’ve gave that team a live show with chris brown and tyga rapin and singing duces… So some boos for the next couple of yrs is expected by me. Will they embrace him again one day this man took a D-league team to da finals eventho they were ran off by da Spurs that say alot to not have a pippen, pau, no kg or ray. Now Mo is softer then any player out there he is a sucker out of that draft class of 03 he hides under rocks and bricks when time gets ruff.

  • tRay

    I hope the Heat win just so we can get passed this. I just wanna watch basketball not a soap opera. As soon as the ball is tossed in the air then it should just be about basketball. Hopefully Mo doesn’t have a nervous breakdown lol

  • Toronto

    I know this game has nothing to do with Raptors but I will tell you that everyone north of the border will be watching and praying that Cleveland wins. Noteworthy item. Raps last year with Chris Bosh 7-11, this year without him 7-11. We still suck but I am so glad that CBNothing is gone.

  • unrel

    that’s one hell of a run-on sentence..

  • jessica

    I’m all about the LeBum bashing don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t mind seeing somebody, anybody, mentioning Dan Gilbert.

    He’s had our back since LeClown put on a show and he’s not letting him get away with it that easily. He’s proud of Cleveland and his team. He loves this city and didn’t quit on us when LeDouche did. I think a big Thank You Dan Gilbert is in order.

  • http://www.borntocompete.com Money$hot

    They Cavs are a not a playoff team without Lebron; And they are a playoff team with Lebron. With or without Lebron not a championship team. Miami may not be good now, but I still like Bron’s chances to win a chip in Miami then in Cleveland.

  • Blackphantom

    I can’t wait for this game….even though who will win it

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    I’m thinking this is the game where we find out who the real Lebron is: is he going to take his “revenge against all the haters” like he said he would and bring the fire, or is he going to be shook and after his team loses say something like “I’m happy for Cleveland that they got the win. Hopefully that’ll lead to some healing.” There’s no better time than this game to show if he has what it takes to really battle adversity.

  • Jackie Moon

    • Someone needs to find a way to get the chalk to blow back in Lebron’s face after he throws it up. Some kind of high-powered, focused fan device.

  • http://www.nba.com Gman

    @Jessica.. You need a reality check. True Story. He didnt quit. He was a FREE agent and decided not to stay with the sh1ttay team.

  • Jackie Moon

    @Money$shot and Gman – The Cavs might be a playoff team without Lebron

  • tiquan

    you cavs fans act like three year olds.. now bron’s back to be yo higglytown hero-lebron james & trey songz “bottoms up remix”


    im watching the game & cavs aint got nothin. the crowd is quiet. The Kings at Work .

  • JTaylor21

    I still don’t see what’s so “Special” about this lebron guy.

  • flipnoyce

    I watched the whole game and I didn’t see what all the fuzzz was about. Bron did his thing like always, and the Cavs folded like they were playing in practice.No intensity. SO What was the big hype again? The fans were just there booing but I didn’t see anything special. One of the most boring games that I have watched so far this year. Glad I saw it in TV,it what a waste of time in money for Cavs fan who saw it live, What an ASS WHOOPIN!!! LEBRON served the TWICE on national TV!

  • flipnoyce

    and money***
    LEBRON served them***

  • http://slamonline mutoni

    misleading headline!

  • dfortruth

    What was up with the cav players, you are laughing and joking on the bench with Lebron while Miami is kicking your butts.

    I turned the channel, the cav players forgot Lebron was no longer their teammate, you looked lost. He made you guys look like the clowns he said you were when he left you.


    Once the drama ended, He EPMDd the cavs. Back in Business, Business as Usual or Never Personal pretty much sums it up. Outscoring the entire starting 5 in 3 quarters with an easy win.


    I must admit the drama was so intense i went to sleep before the second half. BOSTON CHICAGO 2 NITE !! YES !


    As we say it here: Get it right Up Yae !!!!

  • Jay Reyes

    Cleveland should be thankful for those 7 years… its a curse that their “King” left them for themselves and would need to fill the void left by him… but a blessing now that they’re playing great as a team since they can now pass the ball to one another and not bother waiting for Lebron to attack the rim… so i guess Cleveland is now better off without him… i’d rather look for a no. 2 and no. 5 that would compliment their team…

  • ClydeSays

    The Heat rolled as expected. I was kinda surprised the Cavs didn’t even show up for that game. Cle had a couple of decent matchups in Varejao & Willams and still went 3 for 12.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    I didn’t like the players on the Cavs bench talking to Lebron during the game, when they should have been focusing on game. The Cavs team lost their focus and get mixed up in the emotion of the James game. I was hoping Grahm was going to start a fight with Lebron, which would have made Cleveland love him, but Lebron decided to flop and fall to the ground. Bryon Scott should have told his players no talking to him from bench and the bench should have been talking junk to him. James basically said YALL SUCK, so let me leave YALL so yall can suck even more.