Basketball

James bags historic milestone in Nets win

Cavs star becomes oldest NBA player to average a triple-double in a calendar month

LeBron James became the oldest player in league history to average a triple-double in a calendar month, scoring 31 points yesterday morning (Singapore time) in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 129-123 win over the Brooklyn Nets at the Quicken Loans Arena.

It is the first time in his brilliant 15-year NBA career that the 33-year-old James has averaged a triple-double for a month, a milestone that he doesn't take for granted.

"It is a long list of so many great players who have come through this league and for you to be the only one in a category, it is pretty cool," James said.

"I take pride in being a triple threat ever since I started playing basketball.

"I never wanted to be labelled as (just) a scorer. I always wanted to be labelled as a basketball player. I get more gratification from assists more than anything. To give my guys great looks is awesome."

The previous oldest player to average a triple-double in a calendar month, containing at least 10 games, was Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968 at 31 years old.

James had 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his 12th triple-double of the season and 67th of his career, while helping Cleveland beat the Nets for the 10th straight time at home since April 2, 2013.

I take pride in being a triple threat... I never wanted to be labelled as (just) a scorer. I always wanted to be labelled as a basketball player. Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James

He also reached 8,000 assists and became the first player in league history to reach that milestone, along with 30,000 points and 8,000 rebounds.

Despite James' big performance, the Cavs needed others to make big plays on both ends in a game that featured 25 lead changes and was tied nine times.

Rodney Hood converted the go-ahead three-point play, hitting a tough mid-range baseline jumper while being fouled by Jarrett Allen and then sinking the free-throw for a 123-121 lead with 40.2 seconds left.

After the Cavs took the lead for good, Cleveland's George Hill trapped D'Angelo Russell along the sidelines.

Russell then misfired badly on an off-balance three-pointer, Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. grabbed the rebound and James sank two free-throws to complete his 21st 30-point game of the season.

Hill added 26 points for Cleveland, who shot 51.5 per cent from the floor and scored at least 120 points for the 14th time.

Kyle Korver contributed 18, while Hood and Jordan Clarkson contributed 14 apiece in Cleveland's sixth win in eight games.

Russell scored 25 points, but it was not enough as the Nets lost for the 12th time in 14 games.

Caris LeVert added 18 and DeMarre Carroll contributed 16 for Brooklyn, who shot 53.7 per cent from the field. - AFP, REUTERS

OTHER RESULTS

Charlotte 118 Chicago 103, Miami 102 Philadelphia 101, Milwaukee 104Washington 107, Portland 116 Sacramento 99, Denver 120 LA Clippers 122

Basketball