Public Loves Cavs
Cleveland, OH - Just last week, the Cleveland Cavaliers visited Madison Square Garden.
And LeBron James received a warm reception from New York Knicks fans, who welcomed the prospect of the superstar possibly joining the team in 2010.
While its uncertain where James will end up when his contract expires in two years, he's giving his current fan base plenty to cheer about.
James looks to lead the Cavaliers to their 14th win in 15 games and set a franchise record with their 10th straight home win to open a season as they host the tired Knicks on Wednesday night.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made Cavs –14.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 218 (View Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 77% of bets for this game have been placed on Cavs –14.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
On Nov. 21, New York (8-9) made a pair of trades that freed up salary-cap space for a potential run at James when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2010. Four days after those deals, James and the Cavaliers (14-3) arrived in New York, and the four-time All-Star was bombarded with questions about becoming a free agent and his possible suitors.
More questions will likely be asked on Wednesday, but James said he's pleased where he is now.
"I'm happy with the fans here,'' James said on Monday. "I'm happy with the organization. There's nothing more for me to say."
The Cavs are hoping to make a run for their first NBA title, and they've certainly been playing like a contender lately.
Cleveland has won 13 of 14 - its best stretch since 1989, and is outscoring its opponents by an average of 18.8 points during its five-game winning streak.
"We have everything in place right now, everything is flowing," James said.
James has had a history of big games at MSG, but he was hardly needed in last Tuesday's 119-101 win, as he finished with 26 points in 30 minutes.
The Cavs have been at their best at home, where they are 9-0 - equaling the best home start in franchise history set in 1976-77 and matched in 1991-92. Cleveland is averaging 107.4 points at home in 2008-09, and outscoring its opponents by 17.4 points while winning five straight there.
James scored 45 in his last home game against the Knicks, a 110-106 win on Nov. 2, 2007. He is averaging 38.3 points in four games versus New York since the start of last season.
Cleveland is coming off Saturday's 97-85 win at Milwaukee, as James scored 11 straight in the fourth quarter and finished with 32.
While the Cavs are thinking about a championship this season, the Knicks, who are playing basically seven players because of trades, injuries and the ongoing Stephon Marbury situation, are simply looking to be competitive.
New York lost to Portland 104-97 on Tuesday, and has dropped six of eight.
The Knicks led 75-71 after three quarters Tuesday, but with a limited bench they tired in the final period. They missed 10 of their first 12 shots in the fourth quarter, when they were outscored 19-5.
"We saw some bodies dragging and a couple of guys had bad games,'' coach Mike D'Antoni said.
Chris Duhon scored a season-high 23 points and added 13 assists on Tuesday, while David Lee finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Lee, who had career highs of 37 points and 21 rebounds in Saturday's 138-125 win over Golden State, had 12 and 13 against the Cavs last week.
The Knicks have lost their last three road games by an average of 13.3 points, and will play seven of its next eight away from New York.
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Posted: 12/3/08 12:38 AM ET