Thun­der thump Cavs, keep LeBron shy of 30,000 points

The Standard Journal - - NATIONAL SPORTS - By Tom Withers As­so­ci­ated Press Sports Writer

CLEVE­LAND — LeBron James came up just short of 30,000 points.

Ok­la­homa City nearly got there, too. Un­able to stop Paul Ge­orge, Rus­sell West­brook or Carmelo An­thony, the Cava­liers were em­bar­rassed 148-124 on Satur­day by the Thun­der, who not only rolled to their fourth straight win but kept James shy of a his­toric mile­stone.

Ge­orge scored 36 points, West­brook had 23 and 20 as­sists and An­thony dropped a sea­son-high 29 points as the Thun­der tied the record for the most points given up by a Cleve­land team in a reg­u­la­tion game. Philadel­phia scored 148 on the Cavs back in 1972.

“I’ve never in my bas­ket­ball life gave up 148 points, not even prob­a­bly play­ing video games,” James said. “They got every­thing that they wanted. In­side, out­side, they had it mov­ing.”

A roller- coaster sea­son in Cleve­land is on a steady, ac­cel­er­at­ing de­scent. The Cava­liers have lost 10 of 14, and in the past 12 days, the three­time de­fend­ing Eastern Con­fer­ence cham­pi­ons have been blown out by 28, 34 and 24 points.

It’s got­ten so bad, so quickly that coach Ty­ronn Lue’s job could be at stake.

“I would hope not, but I re­ally don’t know,” James said when asked if Lue could be fired. “I don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen with our team. I have no idea what con­ver­sa­tions have been go­ing on. Me per­son­ally, I’ve been try­ing to stay as laser-sharp as I can to keep my guys ready to go out and play.

James fin­ished with 18 points and re­mains seven shy of be­com­ing the sev­enth player in NBA his­tory to reach the 30,000-point plateau. His next chance is Tues­day when the Cavs visit San An­to­nio.

James en­tered t he fourth quar­ter within reach of 30,000. But af­ter he missed two shots, James was re­placed with 6: 37 re­main­ing and the Cavs trail­ing 128- 101. The 33-year-old hoped to make his­tory in front of his home fans and fam­ily, but it wasn’t to be.

James will even­tu­ally get to 30,000 and join Ka­reem Abdul- Jab­bar ( 38,387 points), Karl Malone ( 36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jor­dan ( 32,292), Wilt Cham­ber­lain (31,419) and Dirk Now­itzki (30,808) on the se­lect list.

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