LeBron adds versatile 1st to his record book

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LeBron adds versatile 1st to his record book

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 31 points and finished a month averaging a triple-double for the first time in his career, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 129-123 on Tuesday night.

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 NBA history to reach that milestone, along with 30,000 points and 8,000 rebounds.

Rodney Hood's three-point play with 40 seconds remaining gave Cleveland a 123-121 lead. James and George Hill hit two free throws each in the final 16 seconds to seal the win.

Jarrett Allen's two free throws gave Brooklyn a 119-117 lead with 1:18 to play. Jordan Clarkson's 3-pointer put Cleveland ahead, but Allen Crabbe's runner in the lane put the Nets up 121-120.

Hood hit a jumper from the wing and made the foul shot that gave Cleveland a two-point lead. D'Angelo Russell attempted to draw a foul but barely got off a wild shot from the corner, which led to James' foul shots.

The win could also help Cleveland position in the NBA draft. The Cavaliers own Brooklyn's No. 1 pick, acquired in a trade with Boston. The Nets have the seventh-worst record in the league, but have lost nine of 10.

Russell led Brooklyn with 25 points. Caris LeVert scored 18 while DeMarre Carroll had 16 (see full recap)

Beal, Wizards hold off Bucks
MILWAUKEE -- Bradley Beal scored 21 points, hitting a clutch 3-pointer and a free throw down the stretch, to help the Washington Wizards hang on for a 107-104 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

Otto Porter Jr. added 17 points and Markieff Morris 14 for Washington which stayed hot after snapping the Philadelphia 76ers' seven-game winning streak Sunday with a 109-94 victory.

The Bucks lost a chance at clinching the season series with the Wizards who hold the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference. Washington improved to 2 1/2 games ahead of the sixth-place Bucks. The road team won both games of the series.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Jabbari Parker had a season-high 19 points for Milwaukee.

In the fourth, Morris hit a clutch jump shot and added a dunk before passing up an open look and finding Beal open for a 3 and a 106-101 lead with 59.7 seconds left.

Khris Middleton, who had 17 points, converted a 3-point play and after a Wizards turnover, Tomas Satoransky came up with a rebound in a scramble under the Bucks' basket. Washington got the ball on the ensuing play. Beal made one free throw for the final point. After a Bucks' timeout, Antetokounmpo inbounded the ball to Eric Bledsoe who lost control of the ball and Washington escaped with the victory (see full recap).

Lillard leads Blazers to 4th straight win
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Damian Lillard had 26 points and 12 assists, and the Portland Trail Blazers won their fourth straight with a 116-99 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

Jusuf Nurkic added 17 points and nine rebounds for Portland, which sits in fifth place in the Western Conference -- a game back of San Antonio -- after winning five of its last six games. The current four-game winning streak matched the team's longest of the season.

Zach Randolph had 20 points for the Kings, who lost their fifth straight overall. Sacramento has dropped 10 straight games at Portland's Moda Center.

With just 18 wins, Sacramento is in second-to-last place in the West, above only the Phoenix Suns. The Kings have lost four straight and six of their last seven.

The Kings were playing the second of a back-to-back, after losing to Minnesota 118-100 on Monday night. Randolph sat out that game but returned against the Blazers. Randolph played six seasons in Portland.

Lillard had scored 197 points in the past five games, the most points for a Blazer over a five-game stretch in franchise history (see full recap).

Ben Simmons shrugs off mental fatigue with another triple-double

Ben Simmons shrugs off mental fatigue with another triple-double


Around 6 p.m., Ben Simmons spoke about mental fatigue and the frustrations it can cause. 

An hour later, he hit the court and posted an 11-point, 12-rebound, 15-assist triple-double … with zero turnovers.

“I wish he was more mentally fatigued in the future,” Brett Brown said with a laugh. 

The 21-year-old rookie may be feeling the weight of his first NBA season, but he certainly didn’t show it Monday in the Sixers’ 108-94 win over the Hornets (see observations)

Simmons recorded his third triple-double in the last four games. He exhibited disciplined court vision by finding his teammates with a high level of ease and chemistry that’s been developing over the season (see highlights).

“I was trusting them to knock down shots,” Simmons simply put it. “They make it easy for me.”

Simmons became the first rookie in the NBA to record a triple-double with 15 assists and no turnovers. Only David Robinson and Andre Iguodala had reached a triple-double without an error as rookies. 

Simmons considers his assists and turnovers to be the most meaningful stats of the triple-double, noting his turnovers usually are caused by mental errors. 

"That’s amazing," Joel Embiid said. "To be able to make the right reads and not turn the ball over, there’s a few guys in the league that can do that ... that just shows you that he can be a great point guard."

The 6-foot-10 point guard is averaging 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game over 34 minutes. With each game that passes, Simmons continues to be linked with the feats of Hall of Famers. From joining in the same company as Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson to moving ahead of Allen Iverson for most 10-assist games by a Sixers rookie, his performances are often tied back to historical markers. 

“I think people get caught up in how many points I score every game,” Simmons said. “It’s not about that. It’s a matter of points that we’re getting as a team and how many stops we get … 

"People are always going to say I need to do certain things but I know what I’m capable of and I know what I’m really good at.”

LeBron continues triple-double tour

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LeBron continues triple-double tour

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 40 points as part of his third triple-double in four games and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 124-117 on Monday night as coach Tyronn Lue began his leave of absence to address health issues.

Lue said Monday in a statement he been dealing with chest pains and loss of sleep, and that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is. Associate head coach Larry Drew will run the team in Lue's absence.

James scored 17 points in the third quarter and finished with 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his 16th triple-double this season and 71st of his career.

The four-time MVP took over in the third beginning with back-to-back 3-pointers. After not getting a foul called on a third attempt, he finished Cleveland's next possession with a massive dunk. He was fouled attempting another dunk and made both free throws the following time down.

Milwaukee cut a 17-point lead to 117-109, but James drove the length of the floor for a dunk with just over a minute left.

Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love returned after missing six weeks because of a broken left hand and scored 18 points in 25 minutes. He sparked a 10-0 run in the second quarter with two 3-pointers

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 37 points and went 11 for 11 at the foul line for Milwaukee, which is seventh in the Eastern Conference. Khris Middleton had 30 points, making 11 of 16 from the field (see full recap).

Heat set franchise scoring mark in 2OT win
MIAMI -- James Johnson scored a career-high 31 points, Kelly Olynyk added 30 off the bench and the Miami Heat set a franchise single-game scoring record by beating the Denver Nuggets 149-141 in double overtime Monday night.

Miami's total was also an NBA season-high and helped the Heat get back to the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Houston and Oklahoma City each scored 148 in games earlier this season.

Wayne Ellington scored 29 points for the Heat. Nikola Jokic had 34 for Denver, while Wilson Chandler added 26 for the Nuggets.

"That was as playoffs as it comes right there," Olynyk said.

The NBA's stat system crashed late in the first overtime, and crews were scrambling to determine the final numbers long after the buzzer. All that ultimately mattered was the score -- one that moved the Heat closer to a playoff berth and left the Nuggets two games back in the Western Conference race.

Neither team was at full strength. For Miami, Dwyane Wade (left hamstring strain) missed his fourth consecutive game, and Hassan Whiteside (left hip pain) sat out his fifth straight contest. Denver was without leading scorer Gary Harris, sidelined again by a strained right knee that could keep him out several more days (see full recap).

Oladipo, Pacers rally past Lakers
INDIANAPOLIS -- Victor Oladipo sparked a decisive run and finished with 20 points, Myles Turner had 21 points and the Indiana Pacers recovered from a poor start for a 110-100 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.

The victory snapped Indiana's two-game losing streak.

Los Angeles was led by Kyle Kuzma with 27 points and Brook Lopez with 23, but the Lakers still lost their third straight.

Oladipo and Darren Collison got Indiana going with back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the third quarter for a 77-70 lead. After a layup from Julius Randle, Collison made a 20-footer and Lance Stephenson hit a 10-footer. When the 14-4 flurry ended, Indiana led 85-74 with 3:04 left in the third.

The Lakers never seriously challenged after that.

It was a stark contrast to the Lakers' fast start. Efficient shooting helped them take a 28-19 lead in the first quarter, but when the shooters cooled off, the Pacers charged back and used a 15-6 second-quarter run to make it 51-50 late in the period.

The Pacers still trailed 59-57 at the half -- before Oladipo helped flip things in the second half (see full recap).