for this game

Cavs unveil fresh look vs. Knicks

Oct 30, 2014 - 2:16 PM ( - LeBron James has returned home and his first game as once again a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers is set for Thursday night, at home versus the New York Knicks.

James came back to his hometown in the offseason. After four seasons, two championships and four trips to the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat, James returned to his roots in Cleveland.

He proclaimed it wouldn't be as easy as it was in South Beach, nor would it happen as quickly. (James' Heat made the Finals his first season and won a title in their second.)

James decided to return to Cleveland, where he spent his first seven seasons. While in Ohio, James guided the Cavs to an NBA Finals loss and won back-to- back MVP awards.

In a thoughtful essay penned for, James admitted part of the allure in coming home dealt with bringing a championship to Cleveland, a city without a major sports title since 1964.

However, with the season upon him, James is all business.

"I am going to be extremely excited and happy to be back on this floor," acknowledged James. "As far as the meaning of it all, the meaning is still the same, it's me preparing for a long journey to try and win a championship. That's my mindset."

The Cavs are among the favorites to hoist the trophy at the end of the season. James wasn't their only splashy move in the offseason. The team traded for Kevin Love, the All-Star forward formerly of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Cleveland paid a steep price for Love, who will be a free agent at season's end. Love is probable Thursday with bruised ribs. The Cavaliers parted with young prospects Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, the last two No. 1 overall picks in the draft, to get Love.

Kyrie Irving is still the point guard after inking a max contract extension. David Blatt, who made his bones overseas, took over for Mike Brown as head coach and inherited a wonderful situation. He doesn't believe the team's expectations are fair.

"Anybody talking about us winning it all, they're being unfair to those great NBA teams that are out there that have either won it or been there to win it," Blatt said. "And also to us, as a team that's talented but new. We have a lot of work to do before we can start claiming anything before it's time."

The Knicks made a splash in free agency this summer, re-signing Carmelo Anthony to a max contract. There are no realistic expectations for championship success this season in New York and maybe not even postseason expectations.

Against the Eastern Conference's other powerhouse, the Chicago Bulls, the Knicks started their season with a thud on Wednesday night, losing at home, 104-80.

Anthony led Knicks scorers with 14 points, followed by 12 from Amare Stoudemire. No other New York player managed double figures, although all 13 who saw action Wednesday night scored.

"We will get better. I believe that," Anthony said.

The Knicks were without starting point guard Jose Calderon, who missed the game with a strained right calf. His availability for Thursday is unknown since he was a very late scratch on Wednesday.

Derek Fisher's head-coaching debut was a rocky one as the team struggled within the confines of the triangle offense, made famous by Phil Jackson, the man in charge of basketball operations for the Knicks. The team shot 36.5 percent from the field and 17.6 percent from long range.

The squads split last season's four matchups, but the Knicks have won three of their last four at Quicken Loans Arena.