For the Record, James Is Ahead of His Time
LeBron James enjoys the Cleveland Cavaliers’ teamwork even more than his individual accomplishments.
One led to the other Saturday night, and James scored 26 points to become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 2,000 in a career, leading the Cavaliers to a 96-74 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
“We worked as a team, the unselfishness was just great,” James said. “We got everyone into the game and came out with a victory.”
James will turn 20 on Dec. 30.
“It’s a great feeling,” James said of the record, previously held by Kobe Bryant. “I didn’t even know, it came so quick. I don’t notice things like that, I just notice I’m playing better.”
So are the Cavaliers, 9-1 after an 0-3 start. Cleveland didn’t get its ninth victory last season until Dec. 23, for a 9-19 record.
Eddy Curry scored 20 points to lead Chicago, which has lost 10 of 11 and went 1-6 on a seven-game trip.
“We were tired, no doubt about it,” Bull Coach Scott Skiles said. “But that’s no excuse.”
Skiles said that as soon as James hit a couple of shots early in the game, he knew the Bulls were in for a long night.
“It was kind of a mismatch,” Skiles said.
“He plays at his pace and there’s not much you can do about it. All the great players are like that.”
James made a 16-foot fadeaway jumper with 1:03 remaining in the third quarter to reach 2,000. That was his final shot. He went to the bench after three quarters with the Cavaliers leading, 76-52.
“I sat the bench most of the summer,” said James in reference to his lack of playing time for the U.S. Olympic team.
“Now, I’m having much fun. We’re getting wins and playing so well we can pretty much compete with anybody.”