LeBron James obtained a warm ovation in the Miami audience, then proceeded to select the stadium on a trip down memory lane.
James returned to South Florida as a part of the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time and hauled into a season-high 51 points at an 113-97 triumph over the Miami Heat. James shot 19-of-31 in the area, such as 6-of-8 from 3-point selection, in the stadium where he won his first two NBA championships.
James put the tone with 19 points in the first quarter and 28 by halftime on 11-of-15 shooting. He had 14 points in the third quarter before closing things out with nine at the fourth. James punctuated the night on his closing shot, a 32-footer at the closing moments to put him on the 50-point mark.
“Lance (Stephenson) advised me to finish the match away and said’I wager you won’t take a 3,'” explained James. “He said,’Go for your 3. I wager you will not move for the 3′ So I went to the 3”
James played four seasons with the Heat out of 2010-14. He awakened with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to lead Miami to four consecutive NBA Finals and back names in 2012 and 2013.
“It is always good to be here,” James stated. “We had a few not-so-good days, we’d more amazing times, so it is always a respect variable along with also a love for those folks at Miami and particularly the individuals who work here”
Miami obviously still has a soft spot for James, with loud cheers during introductions when he comes backagain. Fans could have been forgiven for feeling nostalgic as James unleashed his entire repertoire in a prominent first quarter which has been reminiscent of those times when he, Wade and Bosh were flying up and down the court.
James produced eight of his first nine shots and dazzled with a range of appearances: a thunderous dunk on the break, a trio of step-back 3s, a driving floater and a baseline fallaway.
“I place a great deal of effort into my craft,” James stated. “Been shooting a great deal of 3s, great deal of mid-range, great deal of free throws, only hoping to receive my time back. It is a good idea to see if the job pays off”