LOS ANGELES — LeBron James became the oldest player in league history to average a triple-double in a calendar month, scoring 31 points on Tuesday in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 129-123 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
It is the first time in his brilliant 15-year NBA career that the 33-year-old James has averaged a triple-double for a month, a milestone that he doesn’t take for granted.
“It is a long list of so many great players that have come through this league and for you to be the only one in a category it is pretty cool,” James said.
“I take pride in being a triple threat ever since I started playing basketball.
“I never wanted to be labeled as (just) a scorer. I always wanted to be labeled as a basketball player. I get more gratification from assists more than anything. To give my guys great looks is awesome.”
The previous oldest player to average a triple double in a calendar month, containing at least 10 games, was Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968 at 31 years old.
James had 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his 12th triple-double of the season and 67th of his career. He also reached 8,000 assists and became the first player in league history to reach that milestone, along with 30,000 points and 8,000 rebounds.
James and George Hill nailed two free throws each in the final 16 seconds to clinch the victory. The free throws came just after Rodney Hood’s three-point play with 40 seconds left gave Cleveland a 123-121 lead.
Jarrett Allen’s two free throws gave Brooklyn a 119-117 lead with 78 seconds to play.
Jordan Clarkson drained a shot from beyond the arc to give the Cavaliers the lead but the Nets answered with an Allen Crabbe drive to the basket to give Brooklyn a 121-120 lead.
Hood sank a jump shot and made a free throw that gave Cleveland a two-point lead.
The Cavaliers are doubling down every time they beat Boston. Not only do they get the win but it also helps their draft position.
The Cavaliers own Brooklyn’s top draft pick, acquired in a trade. The Brooklyn has now lost nine of their last 10 games and own the seventh-worst record in the league.
D’Angelo Russell led Brooklyn with 25 points while Caris LeVert scored 18 and DeMarre Carroll had 16. — AFP