Numbers don’t lie: LeBron James didn’t quit

December 3, 2010, 6:00 AM HST · Updated December 3, 6:46 AM
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By Fred Guzman

Take that, Cleveland. You, too, LeBron-haters.

Scoring 38 points, including 24 in the third quarter before sitting out the entire final period, King James transformed The Return into The Rout.

His outburst, in the face of continuous jeers from his former adoring witnesses, led his new team, the Miami Heat, to a 118-90 romp past his old team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Say what you will about James, the young brother can play.

He demonstrated that in his first game back in Cleveland, where he spent seven spectacular seasons, carrying a team formerly known as the Cadavers to the NBA Finals in 2007 and league-best regular-season marks the next two years before defecting to Miami via free agency.

He also won back-to-back MVP awards along the way.

He left a crowd of 20,562 with nothing left to cheer except an occasional missed shot. He didn’t miss many, finishing 15 of 25 from the field, to go with eight assists and five rebounds.

The loudest cheers reserved for Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who ripped James after his decision, saying he quit on the Cavaliers during their season-ending playoff series with the Celtics last spring.

I did a little research, and LeBron averaged nearly 27 points and more than nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals during that six-game series. You be the judge whether those numbers constitute “quitting.” To me, they reflect excellence.

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