Friday, December 03, 2010

LeBron returns to Cleveland

CLEVELAND ยป He tuned out the boos. He smiled at the derisive chants. He embraced all the negativity Cleveland could muster.

LeBron James wasn't fazed by anything.

He brought his talents back home and reminded everyone -- even the haters -- why he's missed.

Returning as a villain to his native state and the city he scorned this summer, James scored 38 points -- 24 in a virtuoso third-quarter performance -- to lead the Miami Heat to a 118-90 win last night, turning his hostile homecoming into another embarrassing moment for the Cavaliers.

By halftime, James was the one having fun. By the fourth quarter, he was watching from the bench as Cavs fans headed into the cold for a disappointing drive home.

This wasn't the payback they waited five months to inflict.

With security guards forming a human barricade to line his entrance, James came hopping out of the tunnel and into the electrically charged atmosphere inside Quicken Loans Arena, as more than 20,000 fans, the same ones who once adored him, turned their fury on James.

It was rowdy, but thankfully not violent. There were a few minor incidents in the stands.

Just in case, Moondog, the Cavs' fuzzy mascot, wore a bulletproof vest.

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