Fri, Feb 29, 2008 - Page 24 News List

NBA: Celtics overcome James milestone

HISTORIC PERFORMANCE The Cavaliers' LeBron James returned from a first-half ankle injury to score 26 and become the youngest NBA player to reach 10,000 points

AGENCIES , BOSTON

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives by Leon Powe of the Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, on Wednesday. The Celtics won 92-87.

PHOTO: AFP

The Boston Celtics won their third straight game with a 92-87 triumph over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, the NBA leaders charging to victory on the back of 22 points from Ray Allen.

Boston improved to a league-best 44-12 with the win as Kevin Garnett chipped in with 18 points and 11 rebounds to help the Celtics overcome a milestone performance by Cleveland's LeBron James.

Despite suffering a sprained ankle that forced him out of the game with 4:24 left in the first half, James returned in the second half to amass 26 points that allowed him to become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 10,000 points.

James reached the milestone after 368 games aged 23 years and 59 days, more than a year younger than LA Laker Kobe Bryant was when he hit the mark in 2003 (24 years, 193 days).

After X-rays on James' ankle indicated no serious damage, the Cleveland forward returned, but was unable to rally his team past the Celtics, who were opening a five-game home stand.

"I didn't want to go down. I know my ankle, and tomorrow it's going to be a lot worse," James told reporters about his injury. "It doesn't make me happy to do it [break the record] in a losing effort, but to be in the record books is a tribute to my team mates, myself and my family."

The Cavaliers trailed by double-digits for most of the game and only got close in the final minute as the Celtics evened their season series at 2-2 against the defending Eastern Conference champions.

Building a new winning streak after losing three straight games, Boston shot 52 percent to just 38 percent for the Cavs, and got a 13-point performance off the bench from Leon Powe.

Paul Pierce added 12 points for the Celtics against a Cleveland team playing its third game since an 11-player, three-team blockbuster trade.

"It was a pretty good effort against a quality opponent," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "They're [Cleveland] going to be so much better because of that trade."

Delonte West added 20 points for the Cavaliers, while Wally Szczerbiak had 12 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas pulled down 12 rebounds to go with his eight points.

Bulls 113, Pacers 107

At Indianapolis, Larry Hughes had 29 points and Drew Gooden added 10 points and 15 rebounds, helping Chicago to a victory.

Mike Dunleavy had 25 points, Travis Diener scored 22 and Troy Murphy chipped in 19 for slumping Indiana.

Knicks 113, Bobcats 89

At New York, Nate Robinson scored 22 points, Jamal Crawford added 20, and New York matched its most lopsided victory of the season.

The Knicks, usually suffering the hidings, blew by banged-up Charlotte after a slow start, getting 25 fast-break points and shooting 51 percent from the floor.

Matt Carroll scored 19 points for the Bobcats, who lost their third straight.

76ers 101, Magic 89

At Philadelphia, Andre Miller scored 22 of his 26 points in the first half and Willie Green had a season-high 26 to lead Philadelphia. The Sixers had lost their first two meetings to Orlando this month, four straight overall and six of the last seven.

Raptors 107, Timberwolves 85

At Toronto, Chris Bosh scored 28 points, T.J. Ford had 16 and Toronto beat Minnesota for the eighth straight time.

Hawks 123, Kings 117

At Atlanta, Mike Bibby had 24 points and 12 assists in his home debut for Atlanta against his former team.

Nuggets 138, SuperSonics 96

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