THE King has returned.
LeBron James made his preseason debut on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time) after missing Cleveland’s first three games with a sprained left ankle. He scored 17 points, but also had eight turnovers in the 108-94 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
It was the first chance for James to play with close friend and former Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade as the Cavaliers showed off their new starting lineup.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue brought out his new starting group for the first time now that James is back. He was joined by Wade, Kevin Love and newcomers Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder. Lue announced the lineup, which includes three former MVPs on Monday. James and Rose have won regular-season MVPs and Wade was the 2006 Finals MVP.
Rose finished with 13 points and Iman Shumpert added 12.
“Tonight, I was off. I could feel it,” James said. “It’s just my first action since the Finals and my timing was a little off and turnovers, I think, just trickled down to everybody. So, I made everyone’s timing off.”
The starting five was expectedly rusty with the group having spent little time together. Wade was just bought out by the Bulls on Sept. 24. Crowder and Isaiah Thomas went to Cleveland as part of the Kyrie Irving trade on Aug. 30. And Love was just recently informed that he’d be moving to center with the unit from power forward.
Love and Wade were a combined 2 for 19 Tuesday.