This Christmas, the Cleveland Cavaliers (17-10) are headed to South Beach to face the Miami Heat (13-16). For LeBron James, this game is almost a homecoming, returning to the city that he helped give two championships in four years. Some Miami fans may not be happy with LeBron’s return to Cleveland, but it is nothing compared to four years ago.

On December 2, 2010, LeBron and the Miami Heat came into the Q for the first time since the decision, and the atmosphere was vicious. The city practically disowned James as one of their own, just as they felt he had betrayed the very people who had taken him in. The Heat rolled over the Cavs, and the worst of LeBron’s troubles were over.

Everyone expects the atmosphere in Miami to be a lot more welcoming. After all, LeBron did help them get to four consecutive championship appearances. A video tribute is planned for one of the first timeouts, and there are still mementos of LeBron’s time in Miami around the building. LeBron has maintained friendships with his former teammates, and some even have their own form of understanding his decision, recounting their own reasoning for staying with their hometown teams.

LeBron is downplaying his return to Miami, and it clearly won’t be to the caliber of his homecoming four years ago. The Cavs are looking to add to their 3 game win streak, and to close the one-and-a-half game distance between them and Chicago for first place in the Central division. They will be doing so without Anderson Varejao, who is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon.

The action will tip off at 5 pm Christmas Day.

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