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NBA -- Heat spoil Lebron's return to South Beach


PhilBoxing.com




MIAMI- Cleveland Cavaliers star Lebron James' much anticipated Christmas Day return to the city where he once dominated for four years finally came, But his old pal Dwyane Wade sternly reminded him that Miami has been his city all this time.

Wade scored 24 of his game-high 31 points in the first half and Loul Deng stuffed the stat sheet with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in Miami's 101-91 victory over the visiting Cavs.

''We didn't have a bad breakup,'' Wade told the Associated Press after the game. ''We played against each other for seven years, man. The weirdness just wasn't there. It wasn't like we played against each other our whole career and the breakup happened. We played against each other for seven years, then with each other for a period of time, then he went back to the same situation and I'm in the same place.''

Miami dominated most of the game and led as many as 17 points, 60-43 with 1:47 left before the intermission.

But reminiscent of its recent loss to the lowly Philadelphia 76ers a few nights ago where they blew a 23-point lead, Miami allowed Cleveland to claw back into the ballgame and momentarily were staring at one point deficit, 77-78 on a James fast-break dunk.

Miami answered back and went on a 13-3 run to pull ahead by 9 with 4:07 left in the ballgame. The Heat then held off another late Cleveland run with veteran Danny Granger scoring 5 of Miami's last 11 points including a dagger three that helped preserve the win.

The Cavs, who recently lost starting center Anderson Varejao to a season-ending Achilles injury, shot just 23.1 percent from beyond the arc and were out-dished 16 to Miami's 27.

James led the Cavs with 30 points and 8 assists in 40 minutes while fellow star Kyrie Iriving added 24 points in the loss.

"We're not that good right now,'' James lamented to the Associated Press post game . ''We've won some really good games, we've lost some games, but we're not that good right now.''

The Cavaliers will travel north to battle the Orlando Magic Friday while Miami will host the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.

Photo: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade share a warm embrace prior to the Heat-Cavs Xmas showdown in Miami. The Heat prevailed, 101-91.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Kirk Coyoca.


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