LeBron James Returns to Cleveland, But Does Anyone Care?

The Miami Heat landed in Cleveland last night, but it appears that only the diehard fans are truly aware.

The last time the Heat and Cavaliers squared off in Cleveland, the media circus was unavoidable.  Fans were rallying via different mediums, security was being increased ten-fold, and outsiders were giving their various takes on just what exactly fans of the Wine and Gold should do as LeBron James made his first apprearance to the visiting locker room at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Heat were a concern-causing 11-8 on the season, with five losses coming on the road.  The Cavaliers were doing better than anyone had anticipated, just a few games behind the Big Three at 7-10.  And then the game happened.

Now, the Cavaliers find themselves 36.5 games behind the Heat, who are vying for the top seed in the Eastern Conference with just two full weeks of regular season basketball to be played.  Taking to the practice court yesterday, only Daniel Gibson, JJ Hickson and Anthony Parker had played alongside James when the two-time MVP was here just 10 months earlier. 

Even Dan Gilbert – who couldn’t have helped rid Cleveland of all things James fast enough – could not conceivably see this roster be as different today as it was a year prior.  The result: Tuesday night’s game against one of the biggest road shows in the NBA is not sold out.

Here is what others are saying about this potential non-event:

With injuries that have knocked starters out for the season and a couple trades that began a large-scale rebuilding process, James’ former team is nearly unrecognizable. There are only three players currently on the active roster who played with James last season.

It’s just one of several reasons James’ second return with the Miami Heat on Tuesday night isn’t generating the furor in Northeast Ohio as his first visit did back on Dec. 2. […]

[T]hings are different. For one, the Cavs are playing out the string of one of the worst seasons in team history as injuries have plagued them all season. Second, the rabid fans from December have been disenchanted after seeing the Cavs set an NBA record with a 26-game losing streak. – Brian Windhorst

Scott has noticed a change in the psyche of Cleveland fans. When he first arrived, he sensed their disappointment in James for abandoning them, and hardly a day passed without him being told that the only thing that mattered this season was “to beat Miami.”

Cavaliers fans seem to have moved on. – Associated Press

We’re expecting shenanigans.” – Chris Bosh

LeBron has reasons to think that things will be less crazy: Time heals all wounds, I suppose, and most fans probably got their anger out in the first meeting between the teams. However, it’s worth noting that the first meeting between these teams came at a time when the Cavs were at least a passable squad rather than a historically inept operation. When facing the abyss of a terrible season, when fans react with increased anger. It’s easy to imagine some Cleveland fans not calming down, but actually getting angrier at LeBron for the way he did the Cavs dirty last summer. – Eric Freeman/BDL

So, what say Ye, Cavs fans? Are you still of the mindset that every “homecoming” will be pitchforks and torches, or did we get everything out in December?   

More importantly, will there be any shenanigans?

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

  • Chris

    LeWho?

  • http://blog.clevelandsportstorture.com/ Doug

    I personally don’t care about tonight’s game and I won’t be watching it. I’m glad this has become a non-story at this point, cuz the franchise needs to clean its own house, and fans seem to know that fact takes precedence over hating LeBron. Maybe we can get our hate stoked again if and when the Cavs are able to play on the same level as Miami.

  • brendon

    I’ll be playing Black Ops instead

  • Right Side

    We’re expecting shenanigans.” – Chris Bosh

    Does anyone care what he has to say… Because we know the Heat don’t…

  • http://www.redright88.com Titus Pullo

    I feel bad for admitting it, but I didn’t realize the Heat game was tonight until I read about it in the paper on Sunday.

    Don’t know if that says more about me or the Cavs right now.

  • architrance

    Go LeBlow.

    Wont watch it but a Cavs win (0.5% chance) would be epic.

  • http://clevelandsaplum.com alexa – cleveland’s a plum

    ugh, so over it!

  • Ben

    No.

  • mgbode

    I still hate the Heat. Will cheer against them. How anyone couldn’t hate the Heat is beyond me. For one, if the new CBA doesn’t fix the system, then they have set the blueprint (already being followed in NY and NJ) to force the best teams into the biggest markets. That would effectively kill the NBA in cities like Salt Lake, Cleveland and Sacramento (oh wait, the Maloofs are already taking care of that one).

    I think the problem with this game in particular is that the Heat have shown that if you have a talent-issue that there guys are very capable of exploiting it. What are they 39-5 agaisnt under .500 teams (possibly slightly adjusted from the last I saw it)? So, the odds are supremely in favor of the Heat coming to town and doing what they do to under .500 teams.

    So, while I don’t harbor hopes of the Cavs knocking off the Heat tonight. I do harbor those hopes of the Bulls, Magic, Celtics, Thunder, Lakers, or Spurs beating the Heat in the playoffs.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    GO TRIBE!!!

  • Joey Face

    Having been at the game back in December…

    The frustrating part was not that they lost (or have been losing). It was the lack of effort and/or emotion during the game when he came back home. Players joking with him on the court and acting like everything was fine. I understand that they can still be friends off the court, but that game was not the place to display it. How about all the times he went in for an easy layup or uncontested dunk? I’m not saying they should have thrown him into the first row, but how about a hard foul here or there to show this is still our house and we (Cavs players) still have a passion and want to win?

  • B-bo

    The players clearly didn’t care the first time around, so I’ll be following that approach this time. Always hopeful that we pull out a “W”, but not getting worked up about playing the third-best team in the East.

  • Matt S

    I know that there have been a lot of injuries/trades/etc. since then, but I felt like the Dec. 2 game was a huge turning point in the season.

    At the time, the Cavs were playing hard. They had a chip on their shoulder. They beat bad teams, and competed against good teams. They beat the Celtics on an off-night. And then they just seemed to roll over and die against the Heat.

    I think that the loss smothered whatever internal fire the Cavs had. Soon after, the 26 game losing streak. You’ve seen this team seemingly not care for extended durations this season. Suddenly, we’re talking about getting more minutes to Gee, Harris and Samardo on the theory that they’ll at least give it their all. Combined with the injuries and the trades… this team is different.

  • http://www.whitecollarredneck.com Narm

    I’m not one to bash Windy – but commenting on the fans becoming disenchanted seems strange since he isn’t exactly at the games.

    I was at the game that broke the losing streak and it was nearly as loud that night as a playoff game.

  • Harv 21

    Cleveland Sports Rule #1: Never, ever care more about a game than your team’s own players.

    Would not be surprised to hear tomorrow that Eyenga was yelling for Lenny Harris to snap his picture while he was guarding The Entitled One.

  • http://FeartheSword.com Conrad
  • mgbode

    @Harv – Generic Sports Rule #1: Realize that fans almost ALWAYS care more about the game than the team’s own players.

    That’s why they call us fans.

  • Jim

    I still care and I expect shenanigans; even worse than the first game. The first game we were all reminded to be on our best behavior, that the entire world was watching and waiting to judge the Cleve. This time the media scrutiny is significantly less. So much so that I think you will see some fans do something stupid.

    Nothing would be greater right now than the Cavs beating D-Wades team.

  • christopher

    the only NBA game left this year i care about is the one that succesfully eliminates the Heat from the playoffs and leaves their champhionship hopes out to dry.

    fear the tribe. 2012.

  • 5KMD

    I’m rooting for the most ping pong balls so let’s just have everything work the way it’s supposed to tonight and then good riddance to that guy for the rest of the year.

  • Swig

    I feel bad for admitting it, but I didn’t realize the Heat game was tonight until I read this headline.

  • Anthony

    The Cavs are still playing?

  • Pryor C Davis

    I didn’t know Cleveland still had a team…

  • JNeids

    Any young Cavs that want to endear themselves to us fans (should they even be on the team next year), it would go a long way for you to care more about this game than the Cavs who played Dec 2 did…which really shouldn’t be that hard.

  • Cooley Ford

    @ 13
    I was at the Clippers game when we broke the streak. It was louder than the Wiz series games 1 and 2 in ’08. Also, JJ totally goaltended that layup at the end of regulation.

    My prediction for the game tonight is shenanigans, with a chance of flagrant fouls. High in the 90s. Chance of delay, 30 %.

    Seriously, Ryan Hollins is going to get caught out of position and commit the first ever flagrant 3 tonight.

  • GR

    What does Brian Windhorst know about the Cavs? He’s not a sports reporter, he’s a Lebron reporter. He’s had way too much Maverick Carter Kool-Aid.

  • christopher

    @21

    yeah we got uniforms and everything..it’s really great!

  • Jenk

    I have stopped watching or supporting any pro sport after I found out the owners were involved in SLAVERY……I find it appalling that in this day and age slavery is still being used in the United States….I will never buy a ticket, watch, or buy anything associated with pro sports until all these players are freed from their bondage…..FREE THOSE SLAVES!!!!! As far as LeTwit and the Miami Reek….I hope he’s enjoying watching the NBA finals on his veranda, with his leg propped up to take down the swelling in his knee and his buddies D Wade and Bosch by his side wishing they could have been playing San Antonio in the finals….Chicago will dismantle the 3 traitor team from Miami.

  • JM

    The game in December pretty much killed Cavs fans. That and their losing streak too. I might watch a couple minutes then shut it off when Miami goes up 15.

  • Clark

    See it clearly now that the emotion has settled – stupid fans look at LeBron, smart one’s, wonder what happened 2 years ago when this started. There was a major flaw in the organization. See Danny Ferry, Mike Brown, or M. Reghi. This is not as simple as, “LeBron sucks and I hate him”. Cav’s fans, do we love basketball only when we win ? I support the Cav’s, am sorry to lose such a great talent, and despise all you front-runners. If you know basketball, do not disregard the talent in Miami – championship bound.

  • FiddlersThree

    Saw on GameChannel that Hollins just got a double-technical. What did he do? Please tell me it was awesome…

  • architrance

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOYAH!

  • architrance

    That was supposed to be one really long

    BOOOOYAH!!!

  • http://www.60bpm.com/ Robbie

    The Cavaliers cared. Wow. So happy.

  • Cooley Ford

    @ 31
    Just got back from the game. He shoved Bosh after they jawed at each other for a little bit.

  • 5KMD

    Wow Clark,

    Thanks for the enlightenment. All this time I thought I hated #6 because he embarrassed my home town on national TV after putting them in the situation you refer to all by himself. Then, of course, he left them high and dry at the alter.

    See, this is why I come to this site. I learn something everyday from nice guys like you.