CLEVELAND, OH (Sporting Alert) — LeBron James scored a season-high 42 points to guide the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 110-99 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.
A Classic Season-High Performance – MVP Chants
James, who shot 15-for-25 from the floor and went 4-of-9 from three-point range, also pulled down 11 rebounds, while dishing out five assists and collecting three steals.
The star forward outperformed both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined on the night and received MVP chants from the crowd with every bucket, rebound, assist and steal, but he downplayed talks about him taking an advantage after the performance.
“That’s not why I’m here,” James told reporters. “I’ve got to be the MVP for these guys, the 14 guys in the locker room.
“When I’m on the floor, I’ll try to do everything I can to help this team win.”
All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving added 24 points and Kevin Love finished with 16 points on 5-for-10 shooting from the field to go along with his eight rebounds.
Tristan Thompson supported with 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench and fellow center Timofey Mozgov contributed 10 points and 11 boards in the victory for the Cavs (37-22), who won four in a row and five of the last six games overall.
David Lee paced the Warriors with 19 points off the bench on 8-of-11 shooting in 21 minutes.
Stephen Curry, who was kept in check for most of the night, had 18 points — 12 in which came in the first quarter — and six assists in a fixture many are backing as a possible NBA Finals preview.
Curry also had something to say about the race for the MVP title this season.
“I hope it’s not handed out on this one game,” he said. “I hope it’s about the body of work.
“Tonight just wasn’t my best game. Shots that I normally make didn’t fall tonight.”
The energetic Draymond Green grabbed 16 points, eight boards, five steals and four assists for Golden State (44-11), which shot 42.4 percent from the field on 39-for-92.
Star shooting guard Klay Thompson ended with 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks and Harrison Barnes had 11 points and seven boards in the defeat, as the Warriors dropped two of the last three outings.
“We’re not going to win every game,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “This is the NBA.
“I don’t look at this like a plague or anything. It’s just part of the grind of the season.”
The Cavs, which shot 46.8 percent from the floor on 36-for-77, led 61-56 at halftime and entered the fourth quarter with a 90-78 lead at the Quicken Loans Arena.
The home victory on Thursday night saw the Cavs, who are 8-2 in the last 10 games, moved within nine games of Atlanta in the Eastern Conference standings. They improved to 22-9 at home on the season.
Golden State, which holds the NBA’s best overall win percentage, at .800, continues to lead the Western Conference standings.
James and the Cavaliers will play eight of the next 10 games on the road and they are bracing for a very tricky matchups at the Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat.
Up next for the Warriors is an away clash at the Air Canada Centre against the Toronto Raptors on Friday.
Cleveland travels to face the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday night.