LOS ANGELES: LeBron James scored 27 points to lead Cleveland to a 114-90 NBA victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles on Sunday (Monday in Manila) and said the Eastern Conference-leading Cavaliers are rounding into shape.
“We’re kind of getting into form right now, and coach [Tyronn] Lue has done a great job of kind of finding out his rhythm, and we know what he wants out of us and we’re responding,” said James, who scored 16 points in the first half and sat out all of the fourth quarter.
“We have a great rotation going right now,” James added. “Guys are healthy, and we’re just trying to play the right way.”
J.R. Smith, who drained five three-pointers, and Kyrie Irving added 17 points each for Cleveland.
Cleveland won their third straight game and their sixth in seven outings.
“The ball was moving, it had a lot of energy behind it, and guys were in great rhythm,” said James, who also had six rebounds and five assists.
He moved past Kevin Johnson for 19th on the NBA’s all-time assists list with 6,716.
“We made extra passes and we were able to execute with guys feeling great rhythm.”
J.J. Redick had 19 points to lead the Clippers, who have lost three of their last five and fell one and a half games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for third place in the Western Conference.
The game marked the first time Cavs coach Lue—promoted to replace the sacked David Blatt in January—faced his mentor Doc Rivers.
Lue spent five seasons as an assistant to Rivers, first with the Boston Celtics and then with the Clippers.
“Having a chance and an opportunity to go up against him tonight seems surreal,” Lue admitted.
Knicks hold off Lakers
The second game of a Los Angeles double-header ended in a dramatic 90-87 victory for the New York Knicks over the Lakers.
Jose Calderon drained a three-pointer with two-tenths of a second remaining to seal the win for the Knicks—moments after Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant missed a basket that would have given los Angeles a lead with 9.9 seconds left.
New York’s Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 26 points.
Bryant, a five-time NBA champion heading into retirement at the end of the season, had 14 points in his 29th and last career meeting with Anthony and the Knicks—whose current president Phil Jackson coached Bryant to those five titles.
Antetokounmpo lifts Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo posted his fourth triple-double in 11 games to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 109-100 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in New York.
The Greek forward scored 28 points, handed out 14 assists and grabbed 11 rebounds—almost becoming the first player to notch a triple-double in a single half since Bucks coach Jason Kidd did it for Dallas in 2010.
By halftime the second-year player already had 12 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. He became the first Milwaukee player with four triple-doubles in a season.
“Tonight he was able to do everything,” Kidd said.
In Sacramento, Derrick Fa¬vors scored 28 points and pulled down 14 rebounds and Gordon Hayward added 27 points in the Utah Jazz’s 108-99 victory over the Kings.
The Jazz won their second straight game and pulled within two games of Dallas and Houston, who are tied for the last two Western Conference playoff spots.