NBA ROUNDUP | LeBron James scores 44 points, hits 7k assist milestone in Cavs win
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 Saturday 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 points was his best outing since returning to Cleveland and equaled the 44 points he scored in a game one overtime loss against the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA finals.
The Cavaliers delivered two home wins this weekend, and besides eclipsing 7,000 career assists, James also moved into ninth place on the all-time scoring list during the victories over the Miami Heat and the Hornets.
James is not showing any signs of slowing down. He 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 26, 2015 when he scored 42 in a home win against the Golden State Warriors.
“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 him tonight.”
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 Clifton said of James. “He made three or four threes that he’s going to make. You can’t block them. You can’t contest them.
“When he’s shooting the ball 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.”