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James has season-high 38 in return to Cleveland

by Derrick Johnson on December 3, 2010

Fans in Cleveland likely had December 2 circled on their calendar since the day LeBron James announced he'd be taking his talents to South Beach to play for the Miami Heat, and after his first performance against his former team last night, it looks as though he may have too. James scored 38 points and the Heat trounced the Cavaliers 118-90.

Although he was booed by a hostile home crowd every time he touched the ball, James put on a show. He scored 24 points in the third quarter alone, and was an impressive 15 of 25 from the floor. Dwyane Wade added 22 points, and James Jones had a solid night with 18 points off the bench. Despite the frigid reception, James insists he still has appreciation for the Cleveland fans.

"I understand their frustration," James told The Associated Press. "I was frustrated also because we didn't accomplish what we wanted to. I wish this organization and these fans, who are great, the best."

Still, the fans in attendance did not hesitate to let him know that they felt slighted when he left to play in Miami. Along with robust boos every time he was shown on the screen, fans held up a wide variety of signs for the two-time Most Valuable Player. A bevy of Cleveland celebrities were in attendance as well, including Price is Right host Drew Carey and legendary Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar.

Thanks to a 16-0 run in the first quarter and a nearly flawless second, the Heat had a 19-point halftime lead that would only get bigger. It was one of the few bright spots of a somewhat disappointing first 20 games for the Heat. The win pushed Miami to 12-8, but with the much ballyhooed signings of James and Chris Bosh during the offseason, many speculated that it would cruise through the regular season and into the playoffs.

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