CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – It will come as no surprise to anyone, but LeBron James has re-entered the record books, again on pages featuring only the King himself.
In Tuesday’s 129-123 win over the Brooklyn Nets, James recorded a triple-double, which was not even the most historic triple-double he recorded on the evening. With his seventh rebound and assist of the night, the 33-year-old clinched a triple-double average for the month of February, something which he had never done his career.
James became the oldest player to ever average a triple-double for an entire month, passing Wilt Chamberlain, who did it at 31 in March of 1968.
While others have averaged the triple-double before, LeBron passed into a category all by himself Tuesday. With his 11th and final assist on the night, James became the only player to register 30,000 points, 8,000 rebounds and 8,000 assists in a career.
For context on just how incredible that feat is, keep in mind that James is also the only player to ever register 27,000 points, 7,000 assists and 7,000 rebounds as well.
“With the long list of so many great players that have come through this league, in the history of this league, for me to be the only (one) in a category, I think it’s pretty cool,” James said. “I always wanted to be labeled as just an all-around basketball player and I get more gratification out of the assist more than anything because to get my guys great looks or they’re knocking down shots, that means a lot to me.”
Head coach Tyronn Lue joked that he thought he was also in the 30K/8K/8K club, but not before calling James ‘probably one of the best out game has seen as far as all-around passing, dribbling, powerful, shooting the basketball, (and) scoring.’
Best Supporting Cavalier
As James posted his 12th triple-double of the season, he got considerable help from teammates, including a big, singular quarter from three separate teammates.
After playing just :58 seconds in the first quarter, Kyle Korver turned in 14 points in the 2nd quarter on 5-of-8 shooting and 4-of-6 from 3-point territory. All four triples came with James on the bench.
After trailing the Nets, 61-56, in the first half, point guard George Hill poured in 16 of his season-high 26 points in the 3rd. Hill was 6-of-7 from the floor in the 3rd.
With James re-entering at the 7:02 mark of the 4th quarter, Rodney Hood seized the moment with back-to-back driving layups to extend the Cavaliers’ lead from 103-101 to 107-101.
The southpaw struck again with 40.1 seconds to go, knocking down a go-ahead 13-foot pull-up, while also getting fouled. His ensuing free throw gave the wine and gold the cushion needed to allow James to hit what proved to be the deciding free throws.
Hood scored 11 of his 14 points in the 4th on 5-of-8 from the field. He had received a specific direction from Lue headed into the game that both parties had discussed prior.
“Me and T-Lue talked after last game about me finding opportunities. I just can’t wait for play-calls, I’ve just got to go out there and let my presence take over,” Hood said post-game. “Every time I touch the ball, I’ve got to make plays for myself or others. Tonight was just immediate proof of that. As we go on, I’ll be more and more aggressive.”
Free Throws Aren’t Free
James has lamented the lack of foul calls as he has blown to the basket, claiming that referees protect the shooter, but not the driver in today’s NBA.
The Cavaliers were dwarfed in free throw attempts for much of the game, with the final tally ending at a modest 27 to 30 by game’s end.
The fact of the matter was that the Cavs never capitalized when they did get to the line, struggling to a paltry 17-of-27 from the charity stripe.
Cleveland sat 10th in free throw percentage on the season at 78.5% headed into the night.