I'm not sure it is a good thing that I feel 45 percent sure that there will be a full-scale riot in Cleveland tonight. Other than for games that are played in Detroit or Philadelphia, the Riot-o-Meter is usually never that high.
We are going to see an amount of tension at a sporting event that has not been seen in a very long time. It feels like an event in which people will take sports way too seriously, and that is coming from a guy who writes overly-long posts about sports that 15 people read.
There are a few big questions that will be answered tonight in Cleveland, where the Miami Heat will visit the Cavaliers, and LeBron James returns to the city that he curb-stomped (I would give a fun video link to American History X in case you do not know what “curb-stomping” is, but it is extremely graphic. Feel free to search it yourselves!).
1) Will Cleveland Go Mentally Insane?
Probably not. Hopefully, the good people of Cleveland will have more sense than to go completely ballistic, and use their plastic beer bottles as projectiles. There will be a lot of yelling, a lot of “F—k You!” chants, and a lot of anti-LeBron wear.
Allegedly, Cleveland has bumped up security tremendously for tonight. My friend and I were talking about this scenario today: What if the security guards turn on LeBron, and end up joining in the madness? What if the only reason they signed up to help was so that they could berate and harm James? How hysterical would that be?
Odds are, Cleveland will not go off the deep end. It will get rowdy in there. There will be no “Malice at the Palace” situation, but we could easily see one of the more ugly fan situations since the Palace Brawl.
No, that is not an insult to Cleveland fans. I did not just call you ugly.
2) Will the Cavs Show Up for Tonight’s Game?
Yes. The Cavs are beyond psyched for tonight. If they are not, they should be contracted. This is probably the biggest game they will have all year, and that includes the chance that they get into the playoffs as an eighth seed, and get swept in the first round. You think Dan Gilbert, the Cavs' insane owner, is not in the locker room sometime before the game, yelling at the top of his lungs: "Murdock...I'm coming to get you!" Is that just me?
Mo Williams will have this team fired up. He probably wants revenge more than anyone on LeBron. LeBron left Mo out in Cleveland to whittle away, essentially. James was the only reason Mo would ever want to come in contact with Cleveland. He is out for Mel Gibson-style, The Patriot revenge, and if you remember from a previous column, that is the highest type of revenge possible.
3) Will the Heat Show Up for Tonight’s Game?
That is tough to say. In case you haven't noticed, all three Miami stars have thin skin, and do not like to be booed. It is in their poor record. If they can (for once) ignore the jeers, they will probably do well, I guess.
If I had to guess, I would say no. They are not close enough as a team to combat the inevitable crowd eruption. They could not do it against Boston, and they will not do it in Cleveland.
This is probably the biggest “grow a pair” sports situation (A situation where a player/team’s toughness is called into question, and they must react.) since the whole "Peyton Manning cannot win a playoff game" deal. If Miami cannot get the job done tonight, its toughness will be in big question.
Other classic grow a pair moments include Michael Corleone killing Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey at Louis’s Restuarant, George Costanza pulling a golf ball out of a beached whale, Alex Rodriguez’s performance in the 2009 playoffs and Carmelo Anthony’s “Stop F---ing Snitchin” DVD.
(Anthony's DVD failed miserably, along with his "fight" where he slapped Nate Robinson. These “grow a pair” attempts were arguably the weakest of the past decade. Please come to New York, Melo!)
4) Will Dan Gilbert Attack LeBron James?
I sure hope so. Imagine how Stern would react. He would get the electric chair out of his basement, and well, you can see where I am going with this.
5) Is Juwan Howard Still Alive?
Only 37, the Miami Heat backup big man is averaging 2.8 points per game on 11 minutes. So barely. Other than Marcus Camby, is there another NBA player who you forget is still playing, and think has been retired for at least seven years?
6) Will Chris Bosh Fold?
My NFL pick: Philly over Houston. Houston (+8.5).
Brendan O’Hare writes The Attic Fan column. Follow him on twitter at theatticfan. Email him or comment below with any question/comments/concerns/emergencies.