LOS ANGELES: LeBron James led eight Cleveland players in double-figures with 28 points on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), and reached another milestone in his brilliant career as the Cavaliers crushed the Boston Celtics 120-103.
James was his usual dominate self, posting 11 rebounds and eight assists in 36 minutes. In the third quarter he passed San Antonio great Tim Duncan (26,366 points) for 14th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
James and Duncan have met three times in the NBA Finals, with James’ Miami Heat beating the Spurs in 2013.
“He’s the greatest power forward of all time, if not one of the greatest of all time, period,” said James, who has now scored at least 10 points for the 700th consecutive regular-season game — third longest streak in NBA history.
“I got so many different stories and so many different things and situations that have been linked to him. Even though he’s a few years older than me, we just stayed linked.
“I just think what he’s done for this league. You look at a guy like that and it kind of puts you right back in place.”
Kyrie Irving scored 20 points, Iman Shumpert posted a career-high 16 rebounds to go with 12 points off the bench, and J.R. Smith tallied 14 points on four three-pointers.
Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 27 points. Jared Sullinger added 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Celtics, who had their five-game winning streak halted.
Boston led 35-22 after one quarter, shooting 60 percent. The Celtic’s 35 points tied the most points Cleveland has allowed in a first quarter all season.
Cleveland countered with a 12-0 surge in the second quarter.
The Cavaliers led by eight points after three quarters. They extended their lead to 16 points with just under three minutes to go on the final play from James.
Hawks rally to beat Clippers
Jeff Teague scored 22 points as the Atlanta Hawks came back from a 17-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 107-97 at Staples Center.
Paul Millsap scored 20 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for Atlanta, who surrendered 37 points in the first quarter.
Kent Bazemore tallied 17 points as Atlanta moved to within 1 1/2 games of Miami for first place in the Southeast Division.
DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Chris Paul earned 17 and 11 assists — but it was not enough for the Clippers, who had a disappointing follow up to their comeback win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
George shines for Pacers
Paul George hit two free throws with three seconds left en route to a 38-point performance as the Indiana Pacers defeated the Washington Wizards 100-99.
George’s free throws came after Nene made one of two free throws for the Wizards with 10 seconds left for a 99-98 lead.
Bradley Beal scored 12 points for Washington in his first start since February 11, but the guard didn’t finish the game.
Fouled by Pacers Ian Mahinmi while going for a layup, Beal landed hard on his side and had to be helped off the court. The team said he suffered sprained pelvis.
Beal missed 20 of Washington’s first 61 games.
Gasol leads Bulls
Pau Gasol finished with 28 points, 17 rebounds and six assists as the Chicago Bulls held on for a 108-100 win over the Houston Rockets.
Jimmy Butler scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his first game back since injuring his left knee February 5.
Derrick Rose scored 17 points on six-for-10 shooting. Gasol posted his team-leading 35th double-double of the season as Chicago halted a four-game losing skid.