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Heat scorch Cavs
Saturday 04, Dec 2010

The King returned to his former castle, and LeBron James held court again, even though he was no longer Cleveland’s favourite son but now the enemy. James put on a vintage performance in front of a hostile crowd, scoring a season-high 38 points before sitting out the fourth quarter, and the visiting Miami Heat spanked his former Cleveland Cavaliers, 118-90 on Thursday night. “I’m tired and very exhausted, now,” said the weary James after hitting 15-of-25 field goals, grabbing five rebounds, dishing out eight assists and no turnovers in the emotionally-draining ordeal. “I didn’t get much sleep last night, didn’t get much sleep today, either.” Dwyane Wade had 22 points with nine rebounds and nine assists in Miami’s (12-8) third straight win. James Jones scored 18 off the bench and Chris Bosh finished with 15. James made his first visit to Cleveland since announcing on a nationally-televised show called, “The Decision” on July 8, the reigning two-time league most valuable player was taking his talents to South Beach. It left the loyal fans feeling betrayed. Some called him a traitor as they burned his popular number 23 wine and gold jersey in disgust. Five months after breaking their hearts, the disappointed fans had a chance to voice their displeasure first-hand over the ugly way James left them and an economically strapped city. With tightened security surrounding the league’s most anticipated regular-season game, fans booed their once hometown hero at every possible chance. He was booed from the time he walked out on court, sporting his No. 6 Miami Heat warm-up in pre-game to the time he routinely threw up and clapped talcum powder into the air just before tip-off, to every time he touched the ball. T-Shirts emblazoned with sayings like “Queen James”, “The Lyin’ Queen”, and “Betrayed” were among those proudly worn to vent their frustrations. Homemade signs reading, “The Traitor is in Town,” “Quitness,” and “Traitors Don’t Leave Legacies” were several held in the crowd of 20,562 at the sold out Quicken Loans Arena. Through all the razing, the hostile fans were classy and behaved without any incidents, even though James and Company handed the Cavs their worst loss of the season. Though the once loyal fans spoke their minds, James had kind words for those, who witnessed his seven joyful seasons, though he could not bring an elusive NBA Championship to a title-starved city. “It’s nothing personal at all, I don’t hold any grudges,” he said, “Seven great years, loved every moment, every part from the growth as an 18-year-old kid to a 25-year-old man. “I understand their frustration. We tried our best every night to bring a championship to this city. I have the utmost respect for the franchise and for these fans and wish them the best.” Asked if he wanted to apologize for the way things ended, James declined. “I always say the decisions I make I live with,” he explained. “There are always ways you can correct them or ways you can do better, but at the end of the day I live with them. “My intentions were not to hurt anyone during the whole process, maybe the execution was a little off.” After an emotional first few minutes to shake of a case of butterflies, James got on track, scoring 14 points to match Wade, and Heat took a commanding 59-40 halftime cushion. “King James” ruled in the third quarter, dropping in 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting to quiet the crowd. Wade, meanwhile, hit all four of his floor shots as the lead swelled to 95-65, and James was done for the night. “We came in here with one goal and that was to win a basketball game and we did that,” James said. “This is the most complete game we’ve played this season, start to finish.” Daniel Gibson scored 21 for the Cavs (7-11), who shot an anemic 35.5 per cent from the field to (27-of-76) to lose for the sixth times in the last eight games. Asked to assess James’ night, Cleveland coach Byron Scott said, “I thought he played great.” Elsewhere: Phoenix Suns 107, Golden State Warriors 101 Jason Richardson scored 25 points, Grant Hill had 24 and the visiting Suns sent the struggling Warriors to their seventh loss in the last eight games. Steve Nash chipped in with 13 points and a season-high-tying 16 assists for Phoenix (9-9) winners in nine of the last 11 contests against their Pacific Division rivals. Monta Ellis had a game-high 38 points, and David Lee finished with 25 in the Warriors’ (8-10) fourth straight home loss.

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