Los Angeles, January 26: LeBron James had a homecoming to remember and his inspirations in a 46-point showing against the Cleveland Cavaliers were Tom Brady, his mom's cooking and an over-excited executive.
Superstar James guided the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers to a 115-108 win on the road on what was his first return to Cleveland in two years.
James really turned it on in the fourth quarter, making nine of 10 shots including an outstanding 34-foot three-point effort that put the Lakers five points in front.
His last-quarter heroics followed James taking exception to an unidentified member of the Cavs' front office reacting a little too heartily to a missed shot towards the end of the third.
"It's someone I know for sure, I felt like he was just a little too excited about seeing me miss. That's what happened," James said.
"I know who he is, he's part of the front office group. He was really excited about me missing that shot, a little bit more extra than I would have liked. He's gotta root for his team obviously, he showcased that. I knew I had another quarter and the fourth quarter is my favourite.
"The good thing for him is I only come here once. It's all good. He didn't say a word, he was just a little too excited about me missing a shot. There's a million cameras in these arenas, y'all just gotta find a shot of how excited he was. I didn't take it well."
“Always great to get a win, especially in purple and gold.” pic.twitter.com/FUGKIxzuax— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 26, 2021
But James, who was 73.1 per cent from the field and 63.6 per cent from the three-point range, also drew inspiration from seeing veteran quarterback Tom Brady lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Super Bowl, while enjoying some home comforts courtesy of his mother.
"Home cooking, the opportunity to see my mom and get a home-cooked meal," he replied when asked what inspired him against the Cavs.
"I saw my uncle too, it just felt good to be back in my haven, my rest haven, just being home.
"Also, you can be inspired watching the greatest play, watching Brady, that team, that inspired me too. It felt good from beginning."
Anthony Davis chalked up 17 points and 10 rebounds but was happy to just enjoy the LeBron show.
"When he's playing like that it's fun to watch, amazing to see the shots he makes and shots he takes. He's a hell of a player," Davis said.
"It was one of those nights for him, getting to the basket, hitting the three. He wasn't missing. From the first quarter I knew it was going to be a good night for him."
Head coach Frank Vogel described James' performance as "one of those nights for the ages for him" and added: "It was pretty awesome, just to see he can still turn it up like that.
"Obviously he wanted to win against his former team here, he came out the gates really strong."