Basketball

‘King’ James gets royal treatment in Cleveland

LeBron gets standing ovation and then leads Lakers to 109-105 win

LeBron James made a triumphant return to Cleveland and received a standing ovation from supportive fans, before leading the Los Angeles Lakers over the Cavaliers 109-105 yesterday morning (Singapore time).

James scored 32 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and made seven assists to spark the Lakers, who closed the National Basketball Association (NBA) contest with an 18-6 run to win for the sixth time in seven games.

"We cranked up our defence in the fourth quarter," James said.

"They played a heck of a game but we kept our composure. We're a young crew. We keep getting better."

It was an emotional night for James in his first game back after leaving the Cavaliers for the Lakers in July, but nothing like his 2010 return after departing Cleveland for Miami and the fans, feeling betrayed, booed him.

He left Miami for the Cavs in 2014 and made good on his vow to make the Cavs into champions, so "King" James was treated royally this time.

There were cheers when James trotted onto the court for pre-game warm-ups, a huge standing ovation when he was introduced and, after James scored on the Lakers' first possession, a video highlight tribute to huge applause.

"To come back and get the reception I got, it means a lot not only to myself but (also) my family," James said.

"My 11 years (playing) for this franchise I tried to give everything I could on and off the court."

The Lakers improved to 10-7, their best record since April 2013, while the Cavs fell to an NBA-worst 2-14.

Meanwhile, reigning NBA champions Golden State suffered a fourth consecutive loss for the first time since 2013 - 450 games ago - as the Warriors fell 123-95 at home to Oklahoma City.

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook had 11 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists for his 105th career triple double.

To come back and get the reception I got, it means a lot not only to myself but (also) my family. LA Lakers' LeBron James on the treatment he received from the Cleveland Cavaliers

German reserve Dennis Schroder scored a game-high 32 points, with Durant and Klay Thompson each hitting 27 for the Warriors, who missed the injured Stephen Curry.

"We can be really great," said Schroder.

"Defensively, we give people problems. We just need to keep working and getting better." - AFP


SELECTED RESULTS

Philadelphia 121 New Orleans 120, Atlanta 108 Toronto 124 , Boston 109 New York 117 , Chicago 124 Phoenix 116, Houston 126 Detroit 124, San Antonio 103 Memphis 104, Dallas 119 Brooklyn 113

Basketball