Basketball

King of assists

LeBron is the first frontcourt player to reach 7,000 milestone

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS CHARLOTTE HORNETS
116 105

LeBron James became the first frontcourt player to reach the 7,000-assist milestone as he scored a season-high 44 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 116-105 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

James hit the magic number yesterday morning (Singapore time) in front of a crowd of 20,500 at the Quicken Loans Arena by skipping a nifty pass to teammate Tristan Thompson who was driving to the basket.

"The last couple years, this is the best I've felt. I've put a lot of work into my body, into my craft," James said.

The 44-point effort was his best since returning to Cleveland and equalled the 44 points he scored in one over-time loss against the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA Finals.

The Cavaliers delivered two home wins over the weekend and, besides eclipsing 7,000 career assists, James also moved into ninth place on the all-time scoring list during the wins over Miami Heat and the Hornets.

The last couple years, this is the best I’ve felt. I’ve put a lot of work into my body, into my craft.Cleveland Cavaliers’ star LeBron James

Not showing any signs of slowing down, the 31-year-old says he is taking better care of his body and the results are evident on the court.

"I've re-arranged a little bit with my diet and things of that nature and it's worked to my benefit," he said.

"And for me to have back-to-back nights like this after coming off a long road trip, just shows that everything is working in the right direction."

This was James' first 40-point game during the regular season since February last year, when he scored 42 in a home win against Golden State.

"I didn't want to play Bron this many minutes," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

"But he came to me and said, 'Man, coach, I'm fine. Kyrie (Irving) doesn't have it tonight'.

"I was like, 'No'. He was like, 'Man, I'm telling you. I'm fine'.

"And then he started raining threes. They made a comeback, but he was playing with great pace and we had to ride on him tonight."

SEASON LOW FOR WARRIORS

Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Cody Zeller had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Hornets, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

"He was phenomenal," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said of James.

"He made three or four threes that he always was going to make. You can't block them. You can't contest them.

"When he's shooting like that, there's nothing you can do, other than blitz, and that's what he wants you to do, and then he really makes you look bad."

In Memphis, hosts Grizzlies shocked Golden State 110-89 for their sixth straight win, holding the Warriors to a season low for points.

It was only the second time this season that the Warriors failed to score 100 points. - AFP

OTHER RESULTS

LA Clippers 133 New Orleans 105, Utah 104 Sacramento 84, San Antonio 130 Brooklyn 101, Chicago 105 Miami 100, Memphis 110 Golden State 89, Houston 109 Dallas 87, Washington 110 Milwaukee 105, Orlando 113 Denver 121, Indiana 118 Portland 111

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