CLEVELAND — LeBron James scored 28 points and seemed more relaxed than in previous games back in Cleveland, leading the Miami Heat to their eighth straight win, 95-84 over the Cavaliers tonight.
James added eight rebounds and eight assists in his fifth game as a visitor against the Cavs, the team that drafted him and the one he led to the NBA finals before leaving as a free agent three years ago to chase championships in Miami. He improved to 11-1 against Cleveland.
Dwyane Wade added 22 points and Michael Beasley 17 for Miami, which coasted in long stretches and never appeared threatened.
Dion Waiters scored a season-high 24 and Kyrie Irving had 16 for Cleveland.
The Heat opened a 15-point lead in the third quarter and responded to every spurt by the Cavs, who got within eight in the final two minutes.
James outscored Cleveland’s starters 28-26, and except for arguing a few calls with the officials that didn’t go his way, the four-time MVP and two-time champ enjoyed his visit home as he reminded Cavaliers fans what they’ve been missing.
After the final horn, James waved to some fans and tossed his headband and wrist bracelets into the crowd the way he always did when he played in Cleveland.
The atmosphere inside Quicken Loans Arena was subdued compared to James’ previous trips. He received the usual boos when he took the floor, but he was soon blowing kisses to fans.
Cavs coach Mike Brown joked that he hadn’t devised a strategy to slow James. “Ask him if he can drive down to his house in Akron at 7:30 and stay there for a couple hours,” Brown said. “I don’t know any other way.”