LeBron James Returns to Cleveland, Doesn’t Really Have a Good Night Out

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LeBron James

Aaron Josefczyk/Reuters

NewsFeed enjoys a bit of hyperbole as much as the next site, but this just might have been the most eagerly-awaited return by a superstar in the history of the NBA (well, since the last one). But the result this time will have left many people happy.

After finally making his interminable “decision” about “taking [his] talents to South Beach,” LeBron James brought said talents back to where it all began Tuesday night for the second time, as the Miami Heat faced his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the fans who once worshiped him. And wouldn’t you know it: the woeful Cavs turned over the Heat 102-90, despite blowing a 23-point lead.

(More on TIME.com: See a TIME video with LeBron James)

And while he managed a highly respectable triple-double of 27 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, LeBron had to endure a night of constant booing from the home fans, whose current charges certainly let them know how important they were to the surprise win. “This was for the fans and for their support,” Cavs guard Daniel Gibson said. “They’ve stayed behind us and this was a way of saying thank you.” “You guys deserve it,” Anthony Parker added as the supporters predictably went wild.

And what about Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who accused James of quitting in last year’s playoffs? He could be found high-fiving everyone in sight Tuesday, before taking to Twitter to declare, “Not in our garage!!” a reference to James’ entourage having difficulty passing through security at the Quicken Loans Arena earlier that same day. (For his part, James arrived in a shirt bearing the inscription, “Long Live The King,” which could possibly be seen as an inflammatory move)

To be fair to the “King,” he did show some class post-match. “They came out and played extremely well. It was a good win for them,” he conceded. “I expect the worst,” he had said. “But worse than last time, Dec. 2? No.” But in many ways, it was worse, as the Cavs managed to extract a modicum of revenge by pulling off the win. It is to be hoped that the healing process can now begin and if future games merely elicit a shrug from the fans, depriving LeBron of the attention he enjoys, it may pay off with further victories. (via AP)

(More on TIME.com: See more on LeBron’s first trip back to Cleveland)

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