LeBron makes own voice heard amongst angry Clevelanders

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The Cleveland fan base made its point.

But LeBron James made his, too.

After scoring 38 points to lead the Miami Heat to a 118-90 win against his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, James made it considerably tough to believe his infamous summer decision to take his talents to South Beach was the wrong one.

And as much as it might have pained the long-suffering sports city, Cleveland endured the evidence for the better part of Thursday night.

By Drew Allen

Granted – and I’ll say it again – Cavs fans made their point, creating perhaps the most raucous environment for a regular season game in recent memory.

The 20,562 in attendance aimed to make their former star’s night miserable from the moment James and the Heat ran onto the court for warmups. Everything – boos, expletives, plays on James’ marketing slogans and even adherence to a prearranged chant sheet – erupted from the arena whenever James had the ball. Some belligerent spectators were even ejected late in the game.

Sure to faze LeBron, right?

Nope.

The forward did his pregame powder routine and, less than two minutes after the opening tip, hit the contested 16-foot jumper off his back foot that he had made so many times on that court.

Thirteen first-quarter points erased any questions as to whether the begrudged crowd would faze James early on. Despite persistent efforts, they never did.

James, who went 15-of-25 from the field, silenced many detractors as Miami built and maintained a lead within the neighborhood of 30 points in the second half.

“I just wanted to be aggressive, just try to keep them out of the game,” James said afterward. “I knew they were going to try to make a run in the third quarter, but we were able to get stops and were able to get some shots.”

And in the third quarter, it seemed like James made as many shots as he took during the evening – and perhaps throughout the last five months. And boy, did he show everyone he meant business in that Heat jersey.

Look, I’m not saying Cleveland fans shouldn’t have voiced their contempt for James or displayed their hurt in being betrayed by the greatest player in Cavs history. The PR disaster that was “The Decision” had to humiliate Clevelanders in ways that outsiders can’t even imagine.

Thus I was perfectly fine with Cleveland making its point and voicing its anger, from the boos and taunts to the cheers whenever LeBron missed (though the profanity that came and went throughout the game was too much).

LeBron didn’t take issue either.

“Seven great years,” he said. “I’ve got the utmost respect for this franchise, the utmost respect for these fans, and I’m just going to continue the greatness for myself here in Miami and am going to try to get better every day.”

However, I’ll come out and say that I enjoyed watching James deliver – watching him make his point. That point is that he’s in Miami for no other reason than to win.

In a season in which the Heat have struggled to establish chemistry on the court and have lost far more games than many would have predicted them to lose at this point, James is still in a much more favorable position now than he was with the Cavs. There’s simply too much talent on the Heat, when healthy, for the team to not eventually win a NBA championship.

And that’s exactly why James, no matter how poorly he went about making his decision, owes no apology for bolting Cleveland. Thankfully, he never offered one.

“I’ll always say decisions I make, I’ve got to live with them,” James said. “There’s always ways that you could correct them or ways that you could do them better, but at the end of the day, I live with them, and I’m satisfied and happy right now.”

That’s because he made the right decision, and he proved it Thursday.

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