Double-whammy for LeBron James as Cavaliers reel off 10th win
Los Angeles (AFP)
LeBron James produced a double-double as the Cleveland Cavaliers notched a 10th straight win with a victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday.
Two days after being ejected for the first time in his career, James was on his best behavior as the Cavs controlled Atlanta to register a 121-114 victory.
The win moved Cleveland 15-7 in the Eastern Conference standings while Atlanta fell to 4-17.
James finished with 24 points, six rebounds and 12 assists while teammate Kevin Love also had a double-double with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
The James-Love axis was given able support by Dwyane Wade with 19 points from the bench while Jae Crowder added 15 points.
Jeff Green added another 12 points for the Cavs, underscoring their offensive depth.
Dennis Schroder was the top scorer for the Hawks with 27 points while Ersan Ilyasova had 22 points.
Schroder had been to the fore, producing three consecutive layups to help Atlanta into a 67-58 lead in the first half.
James however staunched the flow of points after closing down Schroder and soon the Cavaliers pulled clear, powering into a 99-90 lead heading into the final quarter.
"I take a lot of pride in my defensive abilities no matter if I'm guarding a point guard, a power forward, a center or a small forward. I take the challenge," James said.
"My teammates wanted me to take the challenge and I wanted to take the challenge."
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue also praised James' defensive effort in successfully shackling Schroder.
"LeBron did an unbelievable job. One of the best I've seen all year," Lue said.
"That was big time for us, for him to guard Schroder. He got some big stops.
"They are a tough matchup for us. Schroder puts a lot of pressure on the defense and they have multiple shooters."
© 2017 AFP