The Cleveland Cavaliers will head out to southern Florida to face off against the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena in Miami on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. Viewers can watch online the Cavs. vs. Heat matchup via live stream - free for subscribers - below.
Although he now plays for the Cavaliers, LeBron James will head back to Miami to use his talents against his former team. Because his time in Miami yielded two NBA championships, James thinks that the city will flood him with positive vibes.
"To say I haven't thought about going back, I would be lying," James said in Cleveland on Tuesday night after he and the Cavaliers beat Minnesota. "It's going to be great to be back in that building around those unbelievable fans and the memories will definitely come back, being a part of the organization for four years."
When he played in South Beach, James relied on Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh as part of Miami's game strategy. Now that he's in Cleveland, James will work alongside Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving in what Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post described as the "Big Three."
"Irving helps set the table for his two scores, touching the ball 84 times per game and generating the sixth most points per touch (0.234) among players with at least 80 touches per game over 20 games this season," Greenberg wrote. "More than a fourth of his passes go to James (26.5 percent) while another quarter goes to Love (24.3 percent), who is averaging 16.8 points per game and hitting 35.5 percent of his shots from three-point range this season."
The spotlight may be on King James, but for Udonis Haslem, a Miami native who has stayed with the Heat his entire NBA career, the focus is on beating the Cavaliers.
"It ain't about Bron," Haslem said. "It ain't about beating Cleveland because he left to go to Cleveland. It's about the Miami Heat against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and we'd want to win that game whether it was last year's Cleveland Cavaliers who won 25 games or whatever, or this year's Cleveland Cavaliers who everyone thinks are going to win it all."
The Associated Press noted that some within the Heat organization were quite angry when James left them this past summer. However, his memory in Miami hasn't been completely scrubbed off the building: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra still had photos of James in his office, and the Heat's locker room still has images of James adorning the walls of "Championship Alley."
Although they both play on opposing teams now, Wade still maintains a close friendship with King James.
"It hasn't changed," Wade said. "It won't change. ... We have a great friendship and great respect for each other. It won't change."
According to the Associated Press, the Heat will honor James with a video tribute planned for one of the early timeouts. As for the crowd's reaction, that remains unknown.
"I don't really get involved in what to expect," James said. "My job is to go down there and win a basketball game and live in the moment."
Thursday's game will air on ABC at 5 p.m. ET. While this option requires subscriptions and logins, online viewers, depending on local listings, can stream the game through ABC Live or the Watch ABC app for various devices.