LeBron James Expects Less Hostility in Cleveland Tonight

by March 29, 2011

James is probably right, there’s no way Cavs fans will be able to work up the same kind of hatred they did during his initial trip back to Cleveland, but he shouldn’t expect a standing ovation, either. From the Akron Beacon Journal: ”It can’t get no worse than it was December 2,’ James told Miami reporters. ‘I know that. I know that for a fact.’ Perhaps it was the way James manhandled the Cavs in that first meeting, the Cavs’ miserable season since or the drastic turnover on their roster, but for whatever reason, interest in this game is down. Even Cavs coach Byron Scott senses it from his dealings in the community. ‘When I first got here, it was almost everywhere I went, which is understandable,’ he said. ‘I can’t remember the last time somebody said something about LeBron to me the last three or four months. Even the fans have come to the realization that he’s a Miami Heat and that’s the way it is.’ Four months ago, James was deluged with ‘Quitness’ T-shirts, chants of ‘Akron hates you!’ and a sold-out arena that taunted and jeered his every move. It was a bubbling kettle of hate that superseded any other regular-season game in the history of the NBA. James responded to the vitriol with a magnificent 24-point effort in the third quarter and 38 points in the game, despite sitting the entire fourth quarter in the Heat’s 118-90 victory. ‘I think [the fans] remember what happened last time we played here and so do we,’ Scott said, conceding the Cavs suffered from a case of stage fright the first time. ‘We want to make sure we come out and we’re not tentative whatsoever.'”