IN AN UNNBEARABLE season of losses, Cleveland got the win it wanted most last night.
The Cavaliers took down LeBron James.
Despite blowing a 23-point lead, the Cavs battled back and beat the Miami Heat 102-90 last night, getting a dose of revenge against James, who was making his second homecoming visit to Cleveland since leaving last summer.
But LBJ scored an early, little victory as he stayed in the locker-room as the teams were introduced. The Cleveland crowd were denied their chance to boo their former hero.
He entered the arena under the cover of darkness while the Cavs were being introduced.
JJ Hickson scored 21 and Anthony Parker scored 20 for the Cavs, who were embarrassed by James and the Heat 118-90 on December 2 — a night when Cleveland fans unleashed their hatred on the superstar.
This time, James left the floor hanging his head. He finished with 27 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
In the closing seconds, a sellout crowd of 20,562 cut loose at a victory even the most loyal Cleveland fan couldn’t have imagined. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who accused James of quitting in last year’s playoffs after the two-time MVP announced he was joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in a poorly conceived TV special, high-fived anyone within reach.
On the floor afterward, Parker, whose last three-pointer with 2:47 left capped a 12-0 run and put the Heat away, addressed Cavs fans.
“You guys deserve it,” he said.
After James’ return in December, the Cavs were criticised by their fans for the way they acted around their former teammate. Fans felt there was far too much joking around, and they thought someone needed to step up to James and deliver a hard foul.
Hollins took it upon himself to get physical, hitting with Wade with a forearm. Moments later, the two had words and were both assessed technicals.
Hickson knocked James on his rear in the lane later in the first quarter, but James made the shot as he fell to the floor and completed the three-point play. He finished the quarter with 13 points, but didn’t score in the second when the Cavs built a 16-point lead.
Miami cut it in half with an 8-0 run, but Davis knocked down a 3-pointer at the horn to give the Cavs a 53-42 halftime lead.
- additional reporting AP