LeBron James has yet to experience a proper homecoming since leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers before the 2018-19 season.
But he made the most of his first road trip to face his former team on Monday after last season’s visit to Cleveland was canceled because of the NBA’s COVID-19 hiatus. He was inspired, despite a COVID-limited crowd of around 2,000.
Vintage LeBron torments Cavs
James dropped a season-high 46 points in a 115-108 win that kept the Lakers a perfect 10-0 on the road. He saved his best for a fourth-quarter outburst that saw him outscore the Cavs by himself, 21-19, to rally the Lakers after trailing in the third quarter. The effort bookended a 17-point first quarter for James with a buzzer-beater on a fallaway 3-pointer.
James caught fire from the floor, hitting 19 of 26 field goals, including 7 of 11 3-point attempts. He added eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks.
It was a balanced performance that saw James alternate between Damian Lillard-distance logo 3s, fast break dunks and drives to the rim through crowds of Cavs defenders.
— NBA (@NBA) January 26, 2021
The effort was vintage LeBron, who so often finds an extra gear for the games that matter. While Monday’s game didn’t carry any added significance in the standings, it certainly meant something to James.
In addition to his homecoming, the effort also arrived on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s death.
“There’s a lot of things that die in this world. But legends never die,” James said on Saturday of his former rival and fellow Lakers champion. “And he’s exactly that.”
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