LeBron joins 'Big O' in victory
CLEVELAND — No player in NBA history stuffed a stat sheet quite like Oscar Robertson. The "Big O" was a triple-double machine.
On Monday night, LeBron James moved into his rarefied air.
James joined Robertson on an exclusive list and Kevin Love scored a season-high 34 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers remained unbeaten at home with a 117-103 win over the Orlando Magic.
James had 15 points and 13 assists and joined the legendary Robertson as the only players in history to rank in the top 25 in career points and assists.
"He's a guy who laid the foundation," James said of Robertson, "and I'm just trying to carry it on."
With his fifth assist, James moved past Norm Nixon (6,386) into 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 the unselfish superstar is a good bet to pass him on the assist list as well.
James fittingly distributed praise to those who helped him reach the milestone.
"I give all the credit to the two great franchises I've been a part of and the players and the teammates and the coaching staffs that I've played for so far that have allowed me to go out and do the things I've done in my career," he said. "So none of that would be possible without them."
Love scored 27 in the first half — 17 in a row in one stretch for the Cavs, who made 18 3-pointers and improved to 8-0 at home.
Andrew Nicholson scored 18 and Evan Fournier had 13 points for the Magic. Orlando has dropped 11 straight to Cleveland.
James came in needing 21 points to surpass Reggie Miller (25,279) for 18th place on the career scoring list. While he didn't quite catch Miller, he moved into the company of Robertson, a do-it-all guard who is sometimes overlooked when some fans debate the game's top players.
James knows better.
"If you are a true basketball fan and you know the history of the game, there is no way he can ever be lost," James said. "In our league too much is trying to compare greats to greats instead of just accepting and acknowledging and saying, 'Wow, these are just great players.'"
THUNDER 111, JAZZ 89: At Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant had 27 points and six rebounds in his return from a hamstring injury. Durant was 10-for-13 from the field in his first game since he got hurt Nov. 10 at Washington. Russell Westbrook narrowly missed his third triple-double of the season with 20 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.
HEAT 95, KNICKS 78: At Miami, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each scored 16 points, and Miami snapped New York's four-game winning streak. Goran Dragic had 13 points and nine assists for the Heat, who went on a 36-8 run in the first half. Tyler Johnson scored 12, and Hassan Whiteside had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Miami would eventually lead by as many as 26.
TIMBERWOLVES 100, 76ERS 95: At Minneapolis, Andrew Wiggins scored 17 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter to help Minnesota keep Philadelphia winless on the season. Kevin Garnett had eight points and 10 rebounds and the Timberwolves (6-8) won at home for the first time in seven games this season. They dropped Philadelphia to 0-15.
BUCKS 109, PISTONS 88: At Milwaukee, Greg Monroe had 20 points and 13 rebounds in his first game against his former team, leading the Bucks to the victory. Milwaukee had seven players score in double figures, including each of its starters. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 17 points, and Khris Middleton scored 16.
HORNETS 127, KINGS 122, OT: At Charlotte, N.C., Kemba Walker scored 39 points, and Charlotte battled back from 22 points down in the second half to beat Sacramento in overtime. Nicolas Batum had 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Hornets, who have won four of their last five games. Jeremy Lin had seven of his 14 points in overtime.
SPURS 98, SUNS 84: At San Antonio, Kawhi Leonard had 24 points and 13 rebounds, and the Spurs shut down the Suns. Phoenix was averaging 106.5 points, but was held to season low for points and committed a season-high 28 turnovers. Tony Parker had 20 points and eight assists for San Antonio, which is off to an 11-3 start.