Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Sports

LeBron in a class with the 'Big O'

CLEVELAND — LeBron James joined Oscar Robertson on an exclusive NBA list and Kevin Love scored a season-high 35 as the Cavaliers remained unbeaten at home with a 117-103 win over the Magic on Monday night.

James had 15 points and 13 assists and joined Robertson, the legendary "Big O," as the only players in league history to rank in the top 25 in career points and assists.

With his fifth assist, James passed Norm Nixon (6,386) for 25th place and moved alongside Robertson, who finished his Hall of Fame career with 26,710 points and 9,887 assists. James will soon eclipse Robertson's scoring total and is a good bet to pass the guard on the assist list as well.

Love scored 27 in the first half for the Cavs, now 8-0 at home and an Eastern Conference-leading 11-3.

Andrew Nicholson scored 18 and Evan Fournier 13 for the Magic. Orlando has dropped 11 straight to Cleveland.

James entered the game needing 21 points to surpass Reggie Miller (25,279) for 18th place on the career scoring list. Though he didn't quite catch Miller, he moved into the company of Robertson, a triple double machine during his playing days.

J.R. Smith scored a season-high 26 and Matthew Dellavedova, starting in place of injured Mo Williams, added 15 for Cleveland.

The Cavs made a season-high 18 3-pointers in 35 attempts.

James passed Nixon with five minutes left in the second quarter, when he drove the lane and flicked a pass into the right corner to Love, who sank one of his six 3-pointers.

It was Love, with some help from James, who brought Cleveland back with a one-man scoring spree in the second quarter.

With the Cavs down 42-34 after squandering a 12-point lead, Love made three 3-pointers and scored 17 straight over 5:20. He capped his outburst with a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left — off another dish by James — to give the Cavs a 59-55 halftime lead.

The Cavs came out firing in the third, making three early 3-pointers to push their lead to double digits and pull away from the Magic, which was outscored 33-20 in the quarter.

James, who began the season with a worrisome back problem, took a hard hit from Orlando's Victor Oladipo as he tried to make a layup in the first quarter. James crashed to the floor on his backside and sat there for a moment before refusing Oladipo's offer to help him to his feet.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS: Kemba Walker had 39 points as the host Hornets battled back from 22 points down in the second half to beat the Kings 127-122 in overtime. Nicolas Batum had 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for Charlotte, which has won four of its past five games. It was the second-largest comeback in franchise history.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer was fined $25,000 for making contact with an official, a punishment that was strongly criticized by the referees' union as too lenient. The fine, announced by NBA vice president for basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe, followed Budenholzer's technical foul and ejection from Saturday's 109-97 loss at the Cavaliers. … Atlanta will retire Dikembe Mutombo's No. 55 tonight at Philips Arena. It will be the culmination of a year in which the center was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame. … Spokespeople for Michael Jordan and a supermarket chain said there's a settlement regarding the alleged misuse of the former superstar's name. The case involves Jewel-Osco's use of Jordan's name in a 2009 Sports Illustrated ad. … The Clippers' dance squad is getting its own reality series. E! Entertainment said the series that is scheduled to debut early next year will show what it's like to be a member of the squad on and off the court. Eight one-hour episodes of L.A. Clippers Dance Squad are scheduled to air on the cable network.

Cavaliers 117, Magic 103

ORLANDO (103): Fournier 4-5 2-2 13, T.Harris 4-7 1-2 9, Vucevic 6-10 0-0 12, Payton 0-7 0-0 0, Oladipo 5-12 0-0 10, Nicholson 6-9 3-3 18, Ja.Smith 2-4 0-0 4, Napier 3-10 5-8 11, Gordon 5-10 0-0 11, Hezonja 1-3 1-2 3, Dedmon 1-1 1-4 3, Frye 3-3 0-0 9. Totals 40-81 13-21 103.

CLEVELAND (117): James 7-14 1-5 15, Love 11-18 6-7 34, Thompson 3-4 3-4 9, Dellavedova 5-8 1-1 15, J. Smith 10-16 0-0 26, Cunningham 1-8 1-2 4, Jefferson 3-5 1-1 7, Jones 1-5 0-0 3, Varejao 2-2 0-2 4, J.Harris 0-1 0-0 0, Kaun 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 43-81 13-22 117.

Orlando 27 28 21 27— 103

Cleveland 29 30 33 25— 117

3-Point GoalsOrlando 10-22 (Frye 3-3, Fournier 3-3, Nicholson 3-5, Gordon 1-2, T.Harris 0-1, Payton 0-1, Oladipo 0-3, Napier 0-4), Cleveland 18-35 (Love 6-9, J. Smith 6-10, Dellavedova 4-6, Jones 1-3, Cunningham 1-4, J.Harris 0-1, James 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsOrlando 45 (Nicholson 8), Cleveland 51 (Thompson 14). AssistsOrlando 25 (Napier 9), Cleveland 34 (James 13). Total FoulsOrlando 21, Cleveland 15. TechnicalsOrlando defensive three second. A20,562 (20,562).

Hornets 127, Kings 122, OT

SACRAMENTO (122): Gay 13-21 0-1 28, Cousins 13-21 2-4 30, Cauley-Stein 0-0 0-0 0, Rondo 6-12 1-2 14, McLemore 4-6 2-2 10, Collison 3-11 1-1 7, Belinelli 7-17 1-1 17, Casspi 2-7 1-1 6, Koufos 4-9 2-4 10. Totals 52-104 10-16 122.

CHARLOTTE (127): Hairston 2-5 0-0 5, Williams 4-6 0-0 9, Jefferson 4-10 2-4 10, Walker 16-23 3-4 39, Batum 5-16 7-7 18, Lamb 5-9 1-2 11, Hawes 0-1 0-0 0, Zeller 4-8 4-4 12, Lin 5-12 3-5 14, Kaminsky 4-8 0-0 9. Totals 49-98 20-26 127.

Sacramento 30 30 31 21 10— 122

Charlotte 33 27 14 38 15— 127

3-Point GoalsSacramento 8-31 (Gay 2-4, Cousins 2-6, Belinelli 2-8, Casspi 1-4, Rondo 1-4, McLemore 0-2, Collison 0-3), Charlotte 9-29 (Walker 4-6, Williams 1-2, Lin 1-3, Kaminsky 1-4, Hairston 1-4, Batum 1-7, Hawes 0-1, Lamb 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsSacramento 54 (Cousins 11), Charlotte 59 (Batum 10). AssistsSacramento 34 (Rondo 20), Charlotte 24 (Batum 8). Total FoulsSacramento 30, Charlotte 19. TechnicalsCharlotte defensive three second 2. A14,163 (19,077).

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