Since LeBron James left the Miami Heat in the summer of 2014, his teams haven’t won in his return trips to the American Airlines Arena. LeBron’s Cavaliers were 0-7 in the arena where he won his first two championships. In his first homecoming as a Los Angeles Laker, he captured his first win on South Beach since May 30, 2014.
He did so in dominating fashion. He led the way with 51 points, propelling the Lakers to a 113-97 win. The Heat were left frustrated and confused, in what has been a disappointing start to the season.
.@KingJames became the 3rd player to score 45+ pts in their 16th season or later.
The other two: Kobe and Kareem. pic.twitter.com/ZAYh27u3w1
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 19, 2018
LeBron made himself right at home on South Beach Sunday night. He set the tone for the Lakers by hitting eight of his first nine shots in all sorts of ways. The former member of the Heat led his new team with 19 points in the first quarter alone.
This was a season-high for LeBron in any quarter this year. He finished the first half with 28 points, just four points shy of breaking the Heat opponent record for most points scored in a half. The Lakers ended the half with 67 points, the most allowed by Miami all season.
The Lakers were running up and down the court on Miami, getting easy points in transition. LeBron shot the lights out from beyond the arc. James finished the game shooting 6-8 from beyond the three-point line while his Laker teammates shot a combined 5-19 from three.
When James was introduced in the starting lineup, he received a mix reception from his former fans. However, the Heat fans still in attendance late in the game didn’t appreciate their former star pulling up from the arena logo on the court. Draining a three from well beyond the line when the game was in the bag. James told reporters after the game that teammate Lance Stephenson dared him to shoot it.
The Heat didn’t throw in the towel on Sunday. Instead, they threw a shoe.
Miami guard Josh Richardson, who was in foul trouble for most of the night, received a technical foul for throwing his shoe into the stands. Richardson was ejected then escorted to the locker room. This display just shows the frustrations of everyone involved with the team to start the season.
The Heat have dealt with an injury bug to start the season. They were without starting point guard Goran Dragic Sunday with a knee injury. Guard Dwyane Wade is still on paternity leave and missed his seventh straight game. They did return forward James Johnson last night, but it didn’t make a difference. Miami couldn’t get back on defense in transition, helping the Lakers run up and down the court on Miami.
However, the Heat did make a push late in the second. Miami went on an 18-4 run that saw the Heat hit 6-8 from beyond the arc. Guard Wayne Ellington led the team with 19 points and was a spark for them offensively. But the Lakers kept them at bay.
This is was Miami’s fourth straight home loss. The last time this happened was back in the 2014-15 season, the first season post-LeBron.
Miami tries to get back on track on Tuesday when they host the Brooklyn Nets. LeBron’s homecoming tour continues as he makes his first return trip to Cleveland as a Laker Wednesday night.