CLEVELAND (Ohio) • The Cleveland Cavaliers could have said they were too old or too tired to bother running with the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.
Instead, LeBron James, 32, sprinted past them down the stretch. He scored or assisted on the Cavaliers' final 22 points en route to his 58th career triple-double in Cleveland's 105-98 win over Philadelphia in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
His late-game productive streak is the highest number of points scored or assisted on for any player this season to close out a game.
"That's a crazy stat," said James after finishing with 30 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists in 39 minutes.
"I didn't know that, that's for sure. I don't need to score to be productive and to help win a game. I just stay with it. I was able to get to the free-throw line (where he made 10 of 12) tonight.
"I was able to get some rebounds and my team-mates made some huge shots for me."
The Cavs are the oldest team in the NBA with an average age of 30.1, and they did not arrive home from Friday's loss at Indiana until after 4am on Saturday because of weather and plane issues.
The Sixers, the league's second-youngest team - behind the Phoenix Suns - with an average age of just 24.7 by comparison, were asleep in Cleveland for hours before the Cavs had even returned.
Cleveland were also missing Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert, Isaiah Thomas and Tristan Thompson.
"For us to come out here and be professionals - still got to be professionals, nobody's going to feel sorry for you - for us to show up and have our All-Star power forward (Love) out, have so many guys out, everyone just gave what they had and we were very resilient," added James.
Jeff Green, Kyle Korver and Dwyane Wade all scored 13 points off Cleveland's bench. Jae Crowder scored 12 points, including a dagger three-pointer from James with 40.9 seconds left for a 104-98 lead.
The Sixers, who expect to have the injured Joel Embiid back for the game against New Orleans (this morning, Singapore time), were paced by 19 points apiece from J. J. Redick and Robert Covington.
They led 96-91 with 4min 43sec to go but scored just two more points thereafter.
"I was proud of our guys in the way we competed, there was no backing down," Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
"We're trying to be an aggressive, physical, defensive-minded team."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE