CLEVELAND - At the Garden, there were custom-made LeBron James Knicks jerseys, made right on the premises. Here at Quicken Loans Arena, a group of fans handed out placards of a silly-looking sad-face caricature in the shape of the state of Ohio with the words, "Please Don't Go!"
The giveaways were promoted by pleasedontleave23.com, a Web site created by college students from Kent State University, and the intentions of the campaign are quite obvious.
"Much of our advertising is humorous, helping our campaign go viral, but we take this situation very seriously," one of the Web site's creators, Austin Briggs, wrote on the site. "We want LeBron to know how much we care. LeBron James has a lot of character, and we truly believe that this campaign will make a difference."
The Cavaliers haven't made any references to James' impending free agency this summer, but a subtle point was made on the video board early in the game. They showed a scene from "The Wizard of Oz,'' with the Good Witch over Dorothy's shoulder repeating the words, "There's no place like home."
Love ShaqAs Mike D'Antoni addressed the media during his pregame news conference, Shaquille O'Neal walked by and stepped into the scrum. "Italian kiss!" he announced with a booming voice as he stepped toward D'Antoni with a hearty hug and planted a kiss on his former coach's ear.
O'Neal played for D'Antoni for a few months at the end of the 2007-08 season with the Phoenix Suns. Though most of the focus of 2010 free agency is on LeBron, O'Neal also will be a free agent this summer.
Knicks fixLarry Hughes sat out with a sprained big toe, an injury suffered during Friday's loss to the Bucks. Hughes' absence left the Knicks with 11 available players; Darko Milicic may be technically healthy, but he has become a permanent member of the inactive list . . . Eddy Curry, who had knee surgery Jan. 18, was a curious addition to the entourage for this short trip. Curry isn't expected to be ready to play for three weeks.