The Cleveland Cavaliers are back! Opening at home against the New York Knicks, the Cavs will be in primetime for all to see. They've looked good in preseason, and should be able to handle what should be a less-than-good Knicks squad. Plus it's LeBron's for-realsies return to Cleveland, the new scoreboard breathes fire, and the Q is going to be packed to the gills. BASKETBALL!
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks
When? 8:00 PM ET
Where? Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio
To Wence Doth I Avert My Gaze? TNT
And so it starts.
This probably won't go well for the Knicks. They're coming into Cleveland on a back-to-back after playing the Chicago Bulls, something that doesn't sound pleasant even without the likely blowout loss tonight (the Knicks trail by 23 with 10 minutes remaining). New York isn't exactly the youngest team in the league, and shifting from the suffocating defense of the Bulls to the Cavs' offensive excellence is going to be rough on them. The Knicks' defense wasn't supposed to be good this year, but they looked horrendous tonight, particularly when it came to their reserves. The Cavs should score, and score lots.
A good portion of that should come from Kyrie. Kyrie Irving should be absolutely salivating at the idea of slicing and dicing this defense. If the Knicks follow conventional thought and stick Iman Shumpert on LeBron James, then that means Kyrie at best will be guarded by......Pablo Prigioni? J.R. Smith? Even worse for New York is that Jose Calderon didn't play last night, and could miss tonight's game with a calf injury. That means Irving will spend most of his time on the floor guarding Shane Larkin or Pablo Prigioni, neither of whom will make him work too hard on either end. Kyrie should be able to conserve energy on defense and shred those two on offense. I think he leads the team in scoring tonight.
The Return. This game is definitely about way more than the on-court product. Sportscenter is broadcasting from Cleveland all day tomorrow. The pregame concert is going to be bananas. The 3D intro is going to be nuts, and the Q is going to be as packed as it ever has been. This isn't about a basketball game against the Knicks. It's about LeBron, about coming home, about forgiveness, promise, and hope. Cleveland hasn't won anything yet, but for one day, the Cavs are going to be kings in Cleveland. And that's what tomorrow is about. If you're going to the game, you will remember the experience for the rest of your life. If you watch on TV, it's still going to be something to marvel. Regardless, if you're a Cavs fan, or just a Cleveland fan in general, watch it all tomorrow and soak it all in. LeBron James is back, and he just wants to see all his friends tonight.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction: Oh, yeah, right, the game. It's the Knicks on a back-to-back. Even the NBA knows this isn't about the game. Cavs 120, Knicks 80. At least that's what it should feel like.