LeBron sits, fans stew

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

ROCHESTER -- Next time you decide it might be a good idea to spend hard-earned cash to attend an NBA pre-season game, make sure to talk to someone in this city before making the plunge.

The team representing the Raptors and the squad billed as the Cleveland Cavaliers did two things very well last night -- show that results in most pre-season games are all but meaningless and show that tickets for these glorified scrimmages are huge ripoffs.

In what was a big waste of time and money for the crowd of 9,435, the Raptors improved to 4-0 on the pre-season with an 103-81 win over the Cavs in the first NBA game in Rochester since 1981. It was a very small step up from a summer league game as the Raptors didn't play Chris Bosh (sore left heel) and Morris Peterson (stiff back), while the Cavs gave the night off to a non-injured LeBron James, Larry Hughes and Donyell Marshall.

Nights like this show why no Raptors fans should be planning parade routes just yet. Yes, four wins are better than four losses. And it was good to see first overall pick Andrea Bargnani score 10 of his team's first 17 points. But it must be kept in perspective.

The locals, many of whom bought tickets for up to $150 US for the Cavs "home" game after seeing a misleading advertisement with James accompanied with the words, "Come watch him play," booed the teams off the court after the game. During the game, they chanted, "We Want LeBron" several times. At one point, James stood up like he was going to enter the game as a tease. All that did was earn him boos. "I think we as an organization tried to be open and up front as decisions were made, clearly that this could happen," said Cavs general manager Danny Ferry, speaking of reports that pointed out his team was not going to play James in back to-back games in the pre-season.

"I also understand people want to see the great players. They want to see Chris Bosh, they want to see LeBron. I appreciate the frustration."

To avoid frustration, fans in Toronto might want to think twice before attending a pre-season game Sunday against the Cavs. Cleveland plays Saturday night in Columbus, Ohio, meaning James likely will sit out in Toronto.

James pointed out before the game last night he is not injured and it was a coach's decision. He also said he felt the pre-season was too long for most teams. Amen to that.


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