What you need to know about Cavs home opener

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- It's time to party!

Today is the Cleveland Cavaliers' home opener, and the city is ready for a huge celebration before, during and after the team's home opener and the return of LeBron James.

The hope is that James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will lead this team to the play-offs and maybe even a national championship.

Schedule of events

-- 8 a.m., a 10-story tall mural of LeBron James was unveiled on the side of the Sherwin Williams headquarters.
-- 4 p.m., a free concert and watch party will be held directly across from Quicken Loans Arena. It will feature comedian Kevin Hart, hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar and rock band Imagine Dragons. Alcohol and lawn chairs are prohibited.
-- 6 p.m., watch parties will begin at several downtown businesses. The parties will last through 9:30 p.m.
-- 6 p.m., the doors to The Q will open
-- 8 p.m., the Cavs home opener begins. The concert area will turn into a huge outdoor viewing party.

Watch parties

Several other watch parties will be held. Nike will host an outdoor party that will kick off with the unveiling of the LeBron James mural.

Additionally, 40 bars and restaurants in the downtown area have partnered with the Cavs to hold official watch parties. The parties are scheduled for 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Each party will include contests and giveaways, and 100 special Opening Night T-shirts will be distributed. For a complete list of the Cleveland watch party locations, click here.

Meanwhile, a watch party is also set for The Game Grill & Bar at Canal Park, 300 S. Main St., Akron; and TD's Tailgate Grill, 2234 Tuscarawas St., Canton. Each will run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Traffic Advisory

Due to all the people expected in downtown Cleveland Thursday, traffic headaches may be an issue.

Heavy traffic conditions are expected, and parking will be limited in and around the Gateway District. Those attending the season opener and outdoor festivities are urged to arrive early.

The Cavs recommend car-pooling and using the RTA.

There is a drop-off at the RTA Rapid Station at Tower City Center, which is a five-minute walk from The Q. According to RTA,  a rush-hour service on all rail lines begins at 4 p.m. Additional trains will be available before and after the game to meet the demand.

Free trolleys are also available throughout the downtown area, and after the game, the C-line trolley will run until 11 p.m.

For schedules and more on the RTA, click here.

A local on-street parking ban goes into effect for all Gateway events, according to a release from the Cavs.

The Ontario Street on-ramp is permanently closed, so traffic will use an upgraded boulevard along Orange Avenue to access I-77 south.

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