LeBron impresses in attack and defence
LeBron James conjured a double-double and a defensive masterclass as the Cleveland Cavaliers notched a 10th straight win yesterday morning (Singapore time), while Kyrie Irving got Boston back in the groove with a 36-point display.
Two days after being tossed out of a game for the first time in his career, James scored 24 points with 12 assists in a 121-114 win over Atlanta.
The Cavs' 10th victory in a row saw them improve to 15-7 in the Eastern Conference standings, their early-season woes an increasingly distant memory.
James was backed by Kevin Love, who also had a double-double with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
But it was James' defensive display in subduing the threat of Atlanta's Dennis Schroeder which dominated the post-game discussion.
Schroeder finished with 27 points, which included a burst of scoring that took the Hawks into a 67-58 lead in the first half.
James, however, stepped up to halt the German's flow of points, enabling the Cavaliers to regain the lead at 99-90 heading into the final quarter.
"I take a lot of pride in my defensive abilities no matter if I'm guarding a point guard, a power forward, a centre or a small forward. I take the challenge," James said.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue also praised James' defensive effort in successfully shackling Schroeder.
"LeBron did an unbelievable job. One of the best I've seen all year," Lue said. "That was big time for us, for him to guard Schroder. He got some big stops."
Meanwhile, in Boston, James' former Cavs teammate Irving once again came to the Celtics' rescue as they overpowered the Philadelphia 76ers.
Irving's 36-point haul at the TD Garden had the Boston crowd chanting "M-V-P" in appreciation of another standout showing, as the Celtics moved to 19-4 to tighten their grip at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
Boston 108 Philadelphia 97, Denver 111 Chicago 110, Portland 91 Milwaukee 103, LA Clippers 107 Utah 126