Game #20: Miami Heat (11-8) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (7-10)

CLEVELAND - JULY 8: Police stand guard near a larger than life photograph of LeBron James after the announcement that James will play next season for the Miami Heat July 8 2010 in Cleveland Ohio. The two-time Most Valuable Player made the choice to play for Miami next season. (Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)

There isn't a whole lot to say about this one.  It's been pretty appropriately hyped up over the past few days in a situation where we could've been hearing about this game for weeks.  But thankfully, this one almost snuck up on us because we only began hearing about it over the past few days. 

The game itself is almost irrelevant.  LeBron James returns to Cleveland for the first time after leaving the team (and city) as a free agent to ‘take his talents to South Beach'.  I think we all know how he is going to be received by the fans at the Quicken Loans Arena.  That's why there will be extra security on hand to ensure the protection of the players and fans.

The increased security measures don't begin at the arena though, at least not for the Heat.  On usual road trips they release their daily itinerary to the media but that isn't the case today.  Nobody outside of the team knows what the Heat players and coaches will be doing on Thursday, or even what hotel they are staying at.

Normally they would be staying in one of the nice hotels in downtown Cleveland, right around the corner from the arena.  Instead, they are expected to stay somewhere in the suburbs where hopefully no angry Cavs fans will be looking for them.  Thankfully, the schedule makers at the NBA made it as easy as possible for Miami.

Since they played Wednesday night at home, they arrived sometime in the early morning hours on Thursday.  There will be no shootaround at the arena because they played the night before.  They will arrive, go to the hotel, and stay there until its time to head to the arena for the game.  Once the game is over, the team will get right back in their buses and head to the airport. 

All we have to do now is wait for this one to happen.  How will the fans react?  Will it be what we are all expecting, or will it be worse?  I really hope that there aren't any incidences where fans are trying to get at LeBron.  Yell, scream, do as much of that as you want...it's what fans are entitled to.  But when we start talking about the players safety coming into question, that is where a fine line must be drawn.

GAME NOTES

  • Miami has lost 9 of their last 10 games in Cleveland.  The last win came in April of 2007.
  • There will be no beer bottles for Cavs fans to throw on the court.  All beers will be poured into paper cups. 
  • Also, there will be undercover police officers taking up some of the empty seats behind the Heat bench. 
  • Miami is 2-2 this year on the second night of back-to-backs.
  • The Cavs have lost 7 of their last 10 games overall.
  • The Heat has lost 4 straight road games. 
  • Injury wise, it's the same for the Heat with Haslem and Miller.  Cleveland has a clean injury report. 

Tipoff from The Q will be at 8 o'clock and the game is going to be nationally televised on TNT.  Buckle up, Heat fans...

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