WASHINGTON: LeBron James scored 25 points on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), passing Hakeem Olajuwon for 10th on the NBA all-time scoring list, as the Cleveland Cavaliers remained unbeaten by defeating Philadelphia 102-101.
James also added eight rebounds and 14 assists, the last on Channing Frye’s 3-pointer to create the final margin with 65 seconds remaining.
The Philadelphia 76ers, winless at 0-5, turned the ball over three times in the final minute to ensure a victory by the Cavaliers, now 6-0.
Kevin Love added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers while Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 22 points.
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James scored on a fast-break layup with 6:02 remaining in the first quarter against the host 76ers to move one point ahead of Olajuwon’s career total of 26,946 points.
“King” James took only 993 career games over 14 seasons to surpass Hakeem “The Dream,” who needed 1,238 games over 18 campaigns to achieve his total.
“It means I’ve played with a lot of great teammates that have allowed me and entrusted me to do what I do out on the floor. That’s the number one thing,” James said. “Also it’s a testament to me just taking care of my body and working on my craft throughout my career.
“It’s always humbling when you’re able to put yourself in any category with the guys that laid the path for you and for the rest of us. So, it’s pretty cool.”
James worked out with former Houston Rockets center Olajuwon in 2011.
“I knew he worked guys out that wanted to get better and I wanted to expand my game in the low post,” James said. “I felt like if I could do that then I could be more dynamic and make our team better.”
He won NBA crowns with Miami the next two seasons and took his third crown, and first with Cleveland, last June.
The next target on the NBA all-time scoring list is Elvin Hayes with 27,313 points.
Of the top 10, only James, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan were players that weren’t centers or power forwards with dominating inside games.
James wants the team to improve, even if they are unbeaten and off to their best start since opening 8-0 in 1976.
“We just need to get better,” James said. Being unbeaten “means absolutely nothing. On the defensive end we need to be a whole lot better. We have not taken a step backward, but we’ve had a couple of lulls. We take care of that and we will continue to move forward.
“It’s a great learning experience for us. It’s always great to have these kinds of games. I know we have room for improvement.”