LeBron James doesn’t go into every game thinking he needs to score 10 points.
The 14-time All-Star said it just “organically happens.”
It helps, of course, to be a multi-talented 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward viewed by many as the most physically talented basketball player of all-time.
The 33-year-old James matched Michael Jordan’s streak of 866 consecutive double-digit scoring games on Wednesday night, scoring 41 points to help the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Jordan-owned Charlotte Hornets 118-105 and remain in third place in the Eastern Conference.
“I can’t tell you how I’ve been able to do it,” James said. “Any time I’m mentioned with some of the greats, and arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time in Mike, it’s just another feat for me to be just appreciative and humbled by what I’m able to do.”
He wasn’t the only one making history.
Although the game got away from the Hornets in the fourth quarter, there was still the matter of Kemba Walker attempting to pass Dell Curry as the franchise’s career scoring leader. After a sluggish three quarters, Walker scored 11 points in the fourth, including a reverse layup with 20 seconds left to break Curry’s mark of 9,839 points.
“I wasn’t supposed to be here,” the 6-foot-1, 184-pound Walker told the crowd moments after the game ended. “... Anything is possible. If I can do it, anybody can.”
Walker had to grab a towel to wipe away tears after breaking the record.
James approached Walker at midcourt as time expired, gave him a huge hug and whispered congratulations in his ear, telling him it was an incredible accomplishment.
“Listen, if you can be the all-time leading scorer in any franchise, that’s incredible,” James said. “That’s an incredible feat. I definitely went over and just told him how incredible that was. Even though with the season that they’re having, when accomplishments happen throughout the season, you try not to take them for granted. I think it’s an incredible feat for him.”
Jordan, who was not at the game, issued a statement through the team saying he was happy for Walker.
“Becoming a franchise’s all-time leading scorer is a big accomplishment and it’s a testament to his hard work, dedication and passion for the game of basketball,” Jordan said. “He exemplifies what it means to be a Hornet.”
Jordan did not comment on James tying his streak.
James matched Jordan’s 17-year-old mark in the second quarter when he scored his 10th point on a powerful alley-oop dunk off a pass from J.R. Smith.
James, who began his streak on Jan. 6, 2007, can break Jordan’s record Friday night at home against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Cavs’ Love in concussion protocol
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love has entered the NBA’s concussion protocol after being elbowed in the face.
Love was struck by Miami’s Jordan Mickey during Tuesday night’s 98-79 loss to the Heat. He briefly returned to the floor, but experienced concussion-like symptoms at halftime. The All-Star missed their game at Charlotte on Wednesday night and his status will be updated when appropriate.
“He took a pretty good shot,” Cavaliers associate head coach Larry Drew said Wednesday night. “And as is mentioned yesterday, we went in at halftime and the decision was made not to bring him back. You know it’s unfortunate, we’re just getting him back and then this happened. We just want to make sure that he’s OK before we put him back out on the floor. It’s unfortunate.”
Tristan Thompson was set to start against the Hornets.
When asked if Love will require dental work, Drew replied: “I really don’t know to be perfectly honest. I was told that one of his teeth was kind of pushed in. I don’t know if anything has been confirmed yet.”