The many angles of LeBron's homecoming

Duke plays host to Michigan State tonight on the college hardwood, and then welcomes Butler on Saturday in a rematch of last year's NCAA title game.

There's one more week of regular season college football, including four conference championships on Saturday.

The Jets and Patriots are on tap for Monday Night Football — the winner is on pace for the top seed in the AFC while the loser is headed for the fifth seed.

It feels like I am forgetting something in this week packed of high-profile games. Oh, that's right. LeBron James makes his return to Cleveland this week.

In case you have lived under a rock — or are hiding under one so you don't have to read about it — James and the Miami Heat make their first visit to the place James called home for the first seven years of his career.

It is one of just two games on the NBA slate Thursday night. TNT will be sending it's studio team of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith to Cleveland to do their show. No stone has been unturned. There are even 1/50 odds that James does his pregame powder toss at the scorer's table.

So I figured I would present many angles of the story in anticipation of Thursday night.

There is the tampering angle.

There is the too much hype angle.

There is the Cavs fans' angle.

There is the TV angle.

There is the angle from the town he shunned.

There is the angle from the town he took his talents to.

And there is the angle from the company that brought you all the hype.

Feeling overheated? Then there are notes on 11 other Eastern Conference teams below to cool you down.

Notes From the Teams
ATLANTA: The Hawks won their final three games of November, clinching a winning month for the 12th consecutive time (began in February 2009), which matches the longest streak in Atlanta history (January 1996-November 1997).

CHARLOTTE: The Bobcats have topped the 100-point plateau in four of their last seven games, after doing so just twice in the season’s first 10 games. During the stretch, the Bobcats are averaging 104.0 points on .491 shooting from the field (275-560).

CHICAGO: Over their last nine games, the Bulls have limited their opponent to just 95.2 ppg  and are 7-3 over that time. In the five games prior to that, Chicago allowed 105.0 ppg.

DETROIT: With nine rebounds against the Orlando Magic Tuesday, Ben Wallace became the third active player in the NBA to record 10,000-plus rebounds and 2,000-plus blocks in his career.

MIAMI: LeBron James has scored at least 20 points in the last 15 games, becoming just the second player in franchise history (Dwyane Wade) to accomplish the feat.

MILWAUKEE: The Bucks are tied for second with Boston in opponent points in the paint, allowing just 35.3 points per game. Orlando is tops in the league, allowing 34.1 points in the paint. The Bucks are tied for fifth in the league in opponent second-chance points, allowing 11.5 per game.

NEW YORK: The Knicks have won five in a row on the road, the longest streak since winning five straight on the road from Dec. 22, 2000 to Jan. 19, 2001. New York improved to 7-4 away from Madison Square Garden on the season (11-30 in 2009-10), marking the first time since 2000-01 that the Knicks started a season 7-4 or better on the road. Last season, it took New York until Jan. 13 to win its seventh road game. The seven road wins are tied with Utah (7-2) and Atlanta (7-2) for second most in the league behind San Antonio (8-0).

PHILADELPHIA: The 76ers put an end to their 0-3 start against teams from the Western Conference this season with an 88-79 win over Portland. Philly started last season 1-10 against teams from the west, but rebounded with a 13-17 mark by season's end.

TORONTO: Through 17 games the Raptors rank first in the NBA in fast-break points, averaging 19.5 per contest. Toronto has outscored its opponent in 12 of its first 17 games on the fast-break and has scored 20+ points eight times. The Raptors are +46 (322-to-286) in transition points on the season. Raptors’ opponents are averaging 16.8 fast-break points on the year.

WASHINGTON: Nick Young, the Wizards' fourth-year pro has, scored 20 points in a game five times this season all off of the bench which leads the NBA.

Factoids From Elias Sports Bureau
Indiana's Danny Granger has scored 30-plus on three occasions away from home this season and the Pacers are 3-0 in those games. His average of 25 points a game on the road is third best in the league behind Kobe Bryant (29.5) and Derrick Rose (28.6)

Orlando's Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson, the team's top two scorers, were held to nine points apiece in a win against the Pistons Wednesday night. It was the Magic's first win in more than three years (Nov. 26, 2007) in a game in which Howard and Nelson both failed to reach double digits in points. The duo has started 165 games together since November 2007, and have both have been held under 10 points in just three of those games — losses to Detroit, Boston and Denver. At least prior to the game, Howard was able to have fun at Arizona Cardinal Derek Anderson's expense.

Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each went to the free-throw line at least 10 times on Monday, and each made at least nine of those free throws. It's the first game in over two seasons that three teammates in the NBA have each made at least nine free throws in one game.

— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter

Main Header Image
Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

More Stories: