Basketball: LeBron James points the way in attack

Cleveland forward LeBron James driving to the basket as Chicago forward Lauri Markkanen tries to blocks him. Moved from forward to point guard for the first time in five years, James scored 34 points and had 13 assists in the Cavs' 119-112 win.
Cleveland forward LeBron James driving to the basket as Chicago forward Lauri Markkanen tries to blocks him. Moved from forward to point guard for the first time in five years, James scored 34 points and had 13 assists in the Cavs' 119-112 win.PHOTO: REUTERS

Reshuffled Cavs starting line-up and fired-up bench break losing streak against Chicago

CLEVELAND (Ohio) • LeBron James scored 34 points and passed out 13 assists to spark a revamped Cleveland Cavaliers line-up to a 119-112 National Basketball Association (NBA) victory over the visiting Chicago Bulls on Tuesday.

Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James - whose 13-of-20 shooting included four three-pointers - was moved from forward to point guard for the first time in five seasons, as Cavs coach Tyronn Lue juggled his line-up in moving guard Dwyane Wade to a reserve role.

"I'm looking for my guys a little bit more starting at the point, especially in transition. I'm being more of a precise, precision passer and I'm not kind of full speed ahead in transition," James said.

"I'm kind of looking at what's going on and getting my guys the ball, but for me, I just try to stay in attack mode when need be and, if I see the hot hand, start going for my guys and getting them the ball."

While they struggled early, particularly defensively, the Cavaliers (3-1) came together to snap a five-game losing streak in meetings with the Bulls (0-3).

Wade, a former James team-mate on two NBA championship teams in Miami who joined the Cavs after playing in Chicago last season, was benched at his own request after struggling as a starter.

J.R. Smith moved back into the starting backcourt with James, while the front line saw Kevin Love moved from centre to forward. Jae Crowder and Tristan Thompson took over in the middle.

The line-up move came in part because the Cavs are without Derrick Rose due to a sprained left ankle.

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    Points the Cavaliers bench contributed to their cause.

Love added 20 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland, while Wade scored 11 off the bench in only his 12th game as a reserve in 919 games over 15 NBA seasons.

Reserve Jeff Green scored 16 for the Cavs and backup guard Kyle Korver scored 11. The Cleveland bench outscored the Bulls' reserves 46-34.

Chicago, however, nailed 17 three-pointers overall.

Lue said: "But we've got to be better. Seventeen threes again where guys are just looking at us, staring us down and raising for shots."

He added that he planned to stick with James, Smith, Love, Crowder and Thompson - the Cavs' third starting line-up in the young season - for at least the next two games (against the Brooklyn Nets and the New Orleans Pelicans).

In Boston, Jaylen Brown had 23 points and rookie Jayson Tatum added 22 to power the Celtics over the visiting New York Knicks 110-89.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2017, with the headline 'James points the way in attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe