James gets cheers, win in Cleveland

November 22, 2018
LeBron James
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on November 21, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Lakers defeated the Cavaliers 109-105. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Jason Miller/Getty Images/AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - LeBron James made a triumphant return to Cleveland and received a standing ovation from supportive fans before leading the Los Angeles Lakers over the Cavaliers 109-105 on Wednesday.

James scored 32 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and made seven assists to spark the Lakers, who closed the contest with an 18-6 run to win for the sixth time in seven games.

"We cranked up our defense in the fourth quarter," James said. "They played a heck of a game but we kept our composure. We're a young crew. We keep getting better."

It was an emotional night for James in his first game back in his home region since the 33-year-old playmaker left the Cavaliers for the Lakers in July, but nothing like his 2010 return after departing Cleveland for Miami and leaving angry and booing fans feeling betrayed.

After returning from Miami in 2014 and making good two years later on his vow to make the Cavs into champions, "King" James was treated like visiting royalty.

There were cheers when James trotted onto the court for pre-game warm-ups, a huge standing ovation when he was introduced and, after James scored on the Lakers' first possession, a video highlight tribute to huge applause.

"To come back and get the reception I got, it means a lot not only to myself but my family," James said.

"My 11 years I played for this franchise I tried to give everything I could on and off the court."

The Lakers improved to 10-7, their best record since April 2013, while the Cavs fell to an NBA-worst 2-14.

Cleveland's Jordan Clarkson hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a 96-87 Cavs lead, but James sparked a closing rally with a late 3-pointer, dunk and four free throws.

Cameroonian center Joel Embiid outshined New Orleans big man Anthony Davis to power the Philadelphia 76ers over the Pelicans 121-120.

Embiid fouled Davis on a 3-point shot with two seconds remaining. Davis hit two free throws but missed the third and Embiid batted away the rebound to keep the Sixers unbeaten at home (10-0) with a fourth consecutive win.

Embiid finished with game highs of 31 points and 19 rebounds with two blocked shots while Davis had 12 points, 16 rebounds, five steals and five blocked shots.

Australian Ben Simmons had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the 76ers. E'Twaun Moore and Jrue Holiday each had 30 points for New Orleans.