When LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers visit Cleveland on Monday night, there will be no packed arena. More like maybe 1,400 fans in attendance.
Media credentials will be limited and there won’t be a whole lot of buzz. At least, not the same “stop-everything-you’re-doing” mentality that is often the case when LeBron is back in town.
These are just the times in which we are living and trying to pull through.
In fact, the game isn’t even on national television — and given that many YouTube TV and Hulu TV users are still without regional sports networks, a lot of people won’t even see it.
But LeBron led the Cavaliers to a championship in 2016, he’s a native of Akron and proud product of Northeast Ohio. So that makes it at least a little noteworthy.
Plus, you could make the argument there are as many Lakers fans in Ohio as there are Cavs fans — and LeBron has a lot to do with that. So do history and tradition, of which the Lakers have tons.
Good, there’s plenty. The Lakers are more than LeBron. They also feature Anthony Davis, and some say AD is now the best player on the team. (I would disagree with those people. Take LeBron off the Lakers and they’re suddenly the New Orleans Pelicans of the AD era.)
Either way, this is the Lakers’ lone Cleveland stop of the season. They’re 13-4, with all four losses coming at home. So hey, if trying to beat the best in the game isn’t enough, the Cavs (8-8) can aim to hand the Lakers’ their first road loss.
Despite getting their heads handed to them in Boston vs. Tristan Thompson and the Celtics on Sunday night, the Cavs have been an inspirational story so far. They’ve swept two games from Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets, they are really getting after it defensively most nights, and they are playing hard and smart.
They believe the blowout loss to Boston (141-103) was just an aberration. There’s no better way for Collin Sexton, Andre Drummond and the bunch to prove it than to beat the basketball King and his LA dream team.
Tip-off is 8 p.m. EST at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Cavs: PG Darius Garland, SG Collin Sexton, SF Isaac Okoro, PF Larry Nance Jr., C Andre Drummond
Lakers: PG Dennis Schroder, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF LeBron James, PF Anthony Davis, C Marc Gasol