LeBron James marked his return to Cleveland with 32 points and 14 rebounds as his Los Angeles Lakers side beat the Cavaliers 109-105.
James, who left the Cavs in July, received a standing ovation from fans as well as a video tribute after scoring the first points of the game.
The 33-year-old also made seven assists as the Lakers came from behind to record their sixth win in seven games.
“To come back and get the reception I got, it means a lot,” he said.
“During the 11 years I played for this franchise I tried to give everything I could on and off the court.”
Victory saw the Lakers improve their win-loss record to 10-7 – their best since April 2013 – while the Cavs fell to an NBA-worst 2-14.
The Cavs’ Jordan Clarkson had given his side a 96-87 lead with back-to-back three-pointers, but James inspired a late Lakers turnaround with a three-pointer, dunk and four free throws.
“We cranked up our defence in the fourth quarter,” he said. “They played a heck of a game but we kept our composure.
“We’re a young crew. We keep getting better.”
James helped Cleveland win their first NBA title in 2016, ending the city’s 52-year wait for a major sporting trophy.
Having been selected by the Cavs in 2003, he controversially moved to Miami Heat in 2010 before returning to Cleveland four years later.
He signed a four-year deal with the Lakers in the summer worth $154m (£116m).