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