James leads Cavs to No.10, Irving sparks Celtics
LOS ANGELES – Agence France-Presse
LeBron James conjured a double-double and a defensive masterclass as the Cleveland Cavaliers notched a 10th straight win on Nov. 30 while Kyrie Irving got Boston back in the groove with a 36-point display.
Two days after being tossed out of a game for the first time in his career, James scored 24 points with 12 assists in a 121-114 win over Atlanta.
The Cavs' 10th victory in a row saw them improve to 15-7 in the Eastern Conference standings, their early season woes an increasingly distant memory.
James was backed by Kevin Love, who also had a double-double with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
But it was James' defensive display in subduing the threat of Atlanta's Dennis Schröder which dominated the post-game discussion.
Schröder finished with 27 points, which included a burst of scoring that took the Hawks into a 67-58 lead in the first half.
"I take a lot of pride in my defensive abilities no matter if I'm guarding a point guard, a power forward, a center or a small forward. I take the challenge," James said.
"My teammates wanted me to take the challenge and I wanted to take the challenge."
"LeBron did an unbelievable job. One of the best I've seen all year," Lue said.
"That was big time for us, for him to guard Schroder. He got some big stops."
The victory at the TD Garden saw Boston move to 19-4 to tighten their grip at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
"He's certainly one of the most gifted scorers in the game and he can do things with just a tiny amount of space and make it look easy."
The Sixers meanwhile fell to 12-9 after the defeat, with Croatian power forward Dario Saric leading their scoring with 18 points.
In Denver, the Nuggets needed a driving layup from Will Barton with 3.2 seconds left on the clock to snatch a 111-110 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
It was the final act of a late scoring burst from Barton, who bagged six points in the final 45 seconds to rescue Denver from defeat against the team with the worst record in the NBA.
The Bulls fell to 3-17 with the loss as Denver improved to 12-9.
In Los Angeles, the Clippers' woes continued with a blowout 126-107 defeat against the Utah Jazz.
The Clippers were without four of their five starters from opening night: Blake Griffin (knee), Danilo Gallinari (hip), and guards Patrick Beverley (knee) and Milos Teodosic (foot).
The makeshift nature of their lineup was brutally exposed by Alex Burks, who put up 28 points for Utah with team-mate Donovan Mitchell adding 24. The Jazz improved to 11-11 with the win as the Clippers fell to 8-12.