James wasn't sure what kind of reaction he would get from Cleveland's fans. However, he was confident it would be nothing like his first visit here after he signed with the Heat in 2010.
"It can't get no worse than Year One, Dec. 2, 2010," he said, referring to the night Quicken Loans Arena was transformed into a cauldron of hate - directed at him. "It can't get no worse than that, so I'll be all right."
James has moved on and he believes Cleveland fans aren't nearly as mad at him as they once were.
Even Gilbert seems to have softened. Gilbert, who sent his infamous letter to Cavs fans ripping James on the night he announced he was signing with the Heat, went to his Twitter account to offer something of an olive branch to his former employee.
"Cleveland Cavaliers young talent makes our future very bright," Gilbert tweeted. "Clearly, LeBron's is as well. Time for everyone to focus on the road ahead."
James was standing at midcourt awaiting the opening tip when arena workers first noticed a pool of liquid on the floor. As ball boys tried to mop it up, the officials sent both teams to their locker rooms and the giant, fire-breathing, fog-spewing scoreboard was lowered to the floor so the problem could be fixed.
The team returned and warmed up for five minutes before the game got underway.
Once it began, the Cavs came out energized. Cleveland opened a 24-16 lead and was outhustling Miami's players, who swore they wouldn't overlook a banged-up Cleveland squad.
NOTES: The Cavs are going to wait a week before they evaluate Waiters, who has loose cartilage, and decide whether he needs surgery. Cleveland coach Byron Scott hopes his young guard comes back in the final month. "If he gets back, I'll be thrilled to death," Scott said. ... Miami's three wins over Cleveland this season have been by a total of nine points.