LeBron James ties Michael Jordan’s streak of games with double-digit points (video)

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — LeBron James doesn’t go into every game thinking he needs to score 10 points.

The 14-time All-Star said it just “organically happens.”

It helps, of course, to be a multi-talented 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward viewed by many as the most physically talented basketball player of all-time.

The 33-year-old James matched Michael Jordan’s streak of 866 consecutive double-digit scoring games on Wednesday night, scoring 41 points to help the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Jordan-owned Charlotte Hornets 118-105 and remain in third place in the Eastern Conference.

“I can’t tell you how I’ve been able to do it,” James said. “Any time I’m mentioned with some of the greats, and arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time in Mike, it’s just another feat for me to be just appreciative and humbled by what I’m able to do.”

He wasn’t the only one making history.

Although the game got away from the Hornets in the fourth quarter, there was still the matter of Kemba Walker attempting to pass Dell Curry as the franchise’s career scoring leader. After a sluggish three quarters, Walker scored 11 points in the fourth, including a reverse layup with 20 seconds left to break Curry’s mark of 9,839 points.

“I wasn’t supposed to be here,” the 6-foot-1, 184-pound Walker told the crowd moments after the game ended. “… Anything is possible. If I can do it, anybody can.”

Walker had to grab a towel to wipe away tears after breaking the record.

James approached Walker at midcourt as time expired, gave him a huge hug and whispered congratulations in his ear, telling him it was an incredible accomplishment.

“Listen, if you can be the all-time leading scorer in any franchise, that’s incredible,” James said. “That’s an incredible feat. I definitely went over and just told him how incredible that was. Even though with the season that they’re having, when accomplishments happen throughout the season, you try not to take them for granted. I think it’s an incredible feat for him.”

Jordan, who was not at the game, issued a statement through the team saying he was happy for Walker.

“Becoming a franchise’s all-time leading scorer is a big accomplishment and it’s a testament to his hard work, dedication and passion for the game of basketball,” Jordan said. “He exemplifies what it means to be a Hornet.”

Jordan did not comment on James tying his streak.

James matched Jordan’s 17-year-old mark in the second quarter when he scored his 10th point on a powerful alley-oop dunk off a pass from J.R. Smith.

James, who began his streak on Jan. 6, 2007, can break Jordan’s record Friday night at home against the New Orleans Pelicans.

He scored 16 points in the second quarter and 13 in the third on 10-of-15 shooting during that span, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc as the Cavaliers built a 17-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Hornets cut Cleveland’s 20-point lead to 11 points but James re-entered the game and made an immediate impact with a few more highlight reel plays.

He stole Frank Kaminsky‘s pass near the top of the key and raced the length of the floor and threw down an emphatic one-handed dunk over Jeremy Lamb that brought the crowd to its feet again. Then with 3:09 left in the game, he grabbed Rodney Hood‘s miss out of the air and dunked it hard with his right hand, punctuating the Cavaliers’ victory.

James left the game to a standing ovation from the Charlotte crowd, which was filled with Cavaliers fans wearing James’ No. 23 jersey.

TIP INS

Cavaliers: Shot 71 percent from the field in the second quarter and outscored the Hornets 42-28 to take control.

Hornets: Walker established a new team record with his 44th consecutive made free throw. That free throw also brought his career total to 1,999, which broke Gerald Wallace’s franchise record of 1,998.

JAMES’ DOMINANCE

James continued his dominance against the Hornets. He had his way against Charlotte in two previous meetings this season, combining for 58 points, 22 rebounds and 21 assists.

It was also a strong bounce-back game for James, who was limited to 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting in a lopsided loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.

JORDAN’S STREAK

Jordan’s streak of 866 games with at least 10 points came with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards from 1986-2001.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: Host Pelicans on Friday night.

Hornets: Visit Wizards on Saturday.

Donovan says Lonzo Ball’s recovery has ‘been really slow’

Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls
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Watching the finger-pointing and heated moments between Bulls’ defenders on Wednesday night as Devin Booker carved them up to the tune of 51 points, one thought was how much they miss Lonzo Ball‘s defense at the point of attack.

Ball had a second surgery on his knee back in September and the team said he would be out at “least a few months.” It’s coming up on a few months, so Donovan gave an update on Ball and his recovery, and the news was not good for Bulls’ fans. Via Rob Schaefer at NBC Sports Chicago:

“It’s been really slow,” Donovan said when asked about Ball’s rehab. “I’m just being honest.”

Donovan added Ball has not necessarily suffered a setback. The Bulls knew this would be an arduous process. But he also noted that Ball is “not even close” to being cleared for contact or on-court work.

Ball had his first knee surgery in January and the expectation was he would be back and 100% by the playoffs. However, Ball’s knee didn’t respond well, and he was eventually ruled out for the season. Things didn’t improve over the summer, which led to the second surgery. How much do they miss him? The Bulls were 22-13 with him last season, and he averaged 13.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists, a game. However, it was his defense that was most crucial.

There is no timeline for his return. Which is not good news for Chicago.

PBT Podcast: Timberwolves without KAT, get Luka some help

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Minnesota has stumbled out of the gate this season, and now they will be without Karl-Anthony Towns for around a month with a calf strain. Just how much trouble are the Timberwolves in?

Corey Robinson from NBC Sports and myself discuss that and then get into Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Team USA vs. Team World matchup — does Evan Fournier get the world team in trouble? Who guards whom?

From there, it’s time for Corey’s Jukebox and some New Orleans jazz for Zion Williamson. Some Mavericks’ talk follows that — Dallas has put a big load on the shoulders of Luka Doncic, and while he’s playing like an MVP it’s a long-term concern for the Mavericks and their fans.

You can always watch the video of some of the podcast above, or listen to the entire podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please feel free to email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.

LeBron calls out reporters for asking him about Kyrie Irving but not Jerry Jones

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Within days of Kyrie Irving being suspended by the Nets in the wake of a Tweet promoting an antisemitic film (and his initial refusal to apologize for it), Irving’s former teammate LeBron James was asked about it. He had to deal with the controversy, saying, “I don’t condone any hate to any kind. To any race.”

At the end of his press conference Wednesday night after the Lakers beat the Trail Blazers, LeBron scolded the assembled press for not asking him about the 1957 photo that surfaced of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones outside North Little Rock High School while white students protested the integration of the school when they had been quick to ask about Irving.

“When I watched Kyrie talk, and he says, `I know who I am, but I want to keep the same energy when we’re talking about my people and the things they’ve been through,’ and that Jerry Jones photo is one of those moments that our people, Black people, have been through in America. And I feel like as a Black man, as a Black athlete, someone with power and with a platform, when we do something wrong or something that people don’t agree with, it’s on every single tabloid, every single news coverage. It’s on the bottom ticker. It’s asked about every single day.

“But it seems like to me that the whole Jerry Jones situation, the photo, and I know it was years and years ago, and we all make mistakes, I get it. It seems like it’s just been buried under, like, `Oh, it happened. OK. We just move on.’ And I was just kind of disappointed that I haven’t received that question from you guys.”

Irving and LeBron were teammates in Cleveland and won a ring together, there was a direct connection (plus Irving had been linked to the Lakers in trade rumors over the summer).

However, there was a connection between LeBron and the Cowboys as well. LeBron was for many years a very public Cowboys fan (despite growing up in Browns territory). It came up as recently as October, when LeBron was on Instagram Live promoting his HBO show with Maverick Carter “The Shop” and he said he had stopped rooting for the Cowboys in the wake of Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protests, “There’s just a lot of things that were going on when guys were kneeling. Guys were having freedom of speech and wanting to do it in a very peaceful manner…. The organization was like, ‘If you do that around here, then you will never play for this franchise again.’ I just didn’t think that was appropriate.”

When asked about the photo, Jones said he was a curious 14-year-old who was watching and didn’t understand the magnitude of the moment or situation.

Watch Russell Westbrook drain two buzzer-beaters against Blazers

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The Portland Trail Blazers had to know it was not their night when Russell Westbrook knocked down a buzzer-beating step-back 3-pointer just before the half.

Westbrook wasn’t done, he had one more buzzer-beater in him at the end of the third.

Westbrook wasn’t the only guy in the building draining half-courters — for the second-straight game a Laker fan knocked down a half-court shot, this time to win $25,000.

It was a good night all around for the Lakers and their fans at home against the shorthanded Trail Blazers. They got 31 points from LeBron James, plus 27 points and 12 boards from Anthony Davis. Austin Reaves added in 22, and the Lakers took control in the third and cruised in for a needed win.