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NBA roundup: James returns home to celebrate MVP honor

Associated Press
AKRON, Ohio ó On one of the biggest days of his life, LeBron James took the long way home.
Once inside his hometown’s city limits, James pulled his high-powered Ferrari off I-77 and drove the back roads to St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, his alma mater.
Turning on Maple Street, he went past his first house on Hickory. Then, it was past the one on Silver Street, where his mother, Gloria, began raising him by herself. James visited The Boondocks, where he and his friends first dribbled on the playgrounds.
James retraced the steps Monday. His path to NBA stardom.
James claimed the league MVP, receiving the award where he first became a star.
“This is a place where all my dreams started and where I thought they could become real,” James said. “There’s really not a better place.”
An MVP vote some expected to be close was another slam dunk by James. He received 109 of a possible 121 first-place votes to easily outdistance Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. James totaled 1,172 points in balloting by media members in the U.S. and Canada.
“I never dreamed about being MVP, but if I said I didn’t enjoy this award I’d be lying,” James said. “Hard work pays off and dreams do come true.”
Bryant, last year’s winner, got two first-place votes and finished with 698 points. Miami’s Dwyane Wade was third with 680 points and was named first on seven ballots. Orlando center Dwight Howard (328) was fourth, followed by New Orleans guard Chris Paul (192).
HAWKS
ATLANTA ó Marvin Williams won’t start for the Hawks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Cleveland, but he may get plenty of minutes.
Williams, who started two of the three games he played in Atlanta’s first-round series win, is likely to serve in a reserve role against the Cavs tonight.
MAVS
DENVER ó With two tender ankles, Josh Howard may now be leaning more on his jumper than his jukes. Less pain that way.
The Dallas forward who was already hampered by a balky left ankle turned his right one in the first half of a 109-95 loss to Denver in Game 1 on Sunday.
“This is not fun,” Howard said. “Both ankles hurt? I’ve never had this before.”
Sit out Game 2 tonight? No way. Not an option.
“I’m going to have to manage,” Howard said. “My team’s depending on me.”
FINE
DENVER ó Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin was fined $25,000 for knocking Dirk Nowitzki to the court in the series opener.
NETS
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó Keyon Dooling had successful arthroscopic hip surgery to remove loose particles from his right hip. He is expected to be ready for the beginning of the 2009-10 season.

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