LOS ANGELES, December 18 – Cleveland superstar LeBron James scored 33 points to lead the short-handed Cavaliers to a 104-100 NBA victory over Oklahoma on Thursday that halted the Thunder’s six-game winning streak.
James scored 33 points and handed out 11 assists, with his nine rebounds leaving him just one shy of his first triple-double of the season.
It didn’t matter, as the Cavaliers shook off the absence of injured guards Mo Williams, Iman Shumpert and Kyrie Irving, rallying twice from double-digit deficits for the win on their home floor.
Center Tristan Thompson had 12 points and 15 rebounds for Cleveland, with four of his 11 offensive rebounds coming in the fourth quarter.
Forward Kevin Love converted a rare four-point play that tied the game at 78-78, and his full-court pass to James led to a three-point play that put the Cavs up 81-78.
Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook had 27 points and 10 assists, and forward Kevin Durant scored 25 points, but both stars missed potential game-tying three-pointers in the last 10 seconds.
The contest included a frightening moment with 3:07 to play, when James, chasing a loose ball, crashed into the wife of Australian golfer Jason Day as she sat courtside with her husband.
Ellie Day was taken from the arena on a stretcher and was to be hospitalized overnight, although James said after the game he had heard she was doing fine.
“For me, obviously, her health is very important,” James said.
The incident overshadowed an entertaining contest.
The Thunder led by 12 points in the second quarter before the Cavaliers scored 18 straight to seize the lead.
Serge Ibaka’s three-pointer with 5:44 left in the third put the Thunder up 69-58, but they couldn’t maintain the advantage.
“We relaxed,” Durant said. “We missed some shots and they came back. It’s frustrating. Of course, we want to win. We always end up being up 10 points, and in the fourth quarter we don’t start off so well.
“We dig ourselves a hole and have to fight back. We just have to be better.”
– Lin lifts Hornets –
In Charlotte, guard Jeremy Lin stepped into the starting lineup in place of an ailing Nicolas Batum and scored a season-high 35 points to lead the Hornets to a 109-99 overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors.
Lin made 13 of his 22 attempts from the field, connecting on eight of nine on the way to 18 points in the first-half.
“I just tried to be aggressive,” Lin said. “We lose a lot of playmaking and versatility without Nic. He can do so many things.
“So my mindset was, ‘Hey, you’re going to go out there and you’re probably going to play a little more so be aggressive.'”
Guard Kemba Walker, who scored 27 points for Charlotte, called it a “huge performance” from Lin.
“We really needed him to play at the level he played at, especially in the absence of Nic,” Walker said. “It was a really clutch performance and I’m really glad he chose tonight to get hot.”
The Hornets led by 12 at halftime and 16 in the third quarter before Toronto rallied in the final three minutes to force overtime.
The Raptors scored the last seven points of regulation, tying it at 90-90 on DeMar DeRozan’s 18-footer with 25.8 seconds left.
Toronto forced a turnover in the final three seconds, and DeRozan sank a 35-footer that could have won the game but the Raptors had called time out before he unleashed the shot.