James in Elite Club with only 2 members

He joins Robertson as only players in NBA history to rank in top 25 in scoring and assists

Cleveland forward LeBron James looking for support in their 117-103 win over Orlando. The Cavs lead the East with an 11-3 mark.
Cleveland forward LeBron James looking for support in their 117-103 win over Orlando. The Cavs lead the East with an 11-3 mark.PHOTO: USA TODAY SPORTS

CLEVELAND (Ohio) • LeBron James joined Oscar Robertson's elite company in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 117-103 win over the Orlando Magic on Monday.

James joined Robertson as the only players in National Basketball Association history to belong in the top 25 in both scoring and assists.

James' assist on Love's three-pointer with five minutes left in the second quarter gave him 6,387 points, moving him ahead of Norm Nixon and into 25th place.

James is 19th on the all-time scoring list and should pass Reggie Miller for 18th place tonight in Toronto.

Robertson ranks 11th all-time in scoring (26,710) and sixth in assists (9,887).

Forward Andrew Nicholson scored 18 points off the bench and centre Nikola Vucevic had 12 points and five rebounds for the Magic.

Orlando rallied from an early 12-point deficit to take a 42-34 lead in the second quarter before centre Kevin Love heated up.

He scored 17 straight points for the Cavs during a five-minute stretch in the second quarter that included three three-pointers.

He set a season-high for points by half-time and Cleveland cruised to their 11th consecutive triumph in this series.

Love finally finished his shift with 34 points.

James has already reached a number of milestones this season, including the youngest to score 25,000 points.

Now, he joins Robertson on another exclusive list.

Cavs coach David Blatt was left reflecting on another landmark night for James.

"That gives me chills to even hear that," he said.

"That's an amazing, amazing accomplishment. You're speaking about such rarified air...

"All the credit and respect to him for that."

Magic coach Scott Skiles was left in no doubt about James' place in the pantheon of legends following his latest showing.

"Every time there's a young great player, everybody talks about Michael (Jordan) but, to me, he's always been more like a Magic (Johnson) or an Oscar-type player because of his vision," Skiles said.

"That's what makes him so difficult. If you think you're going to give him a steady diet of running and double-teaming him, he's going to carve you up."

James was unwilling to enter into a debate about where he stood in the pecking order of greatness.

"I think we get caught up in our league too much in trying to compare greats to greats instead of just accepting and acknowledging and saying, 'Wow, these are just great players'," he said.

"When it comes to our sport, we're so eager to say who is better - Oscar or Jordan or LeBron or Kobe (Bryant) or these guys instead of just accepting greatness."

James matched a season-high with 13 assists to go with 15 points and six rebounds.

Guard Matthew Dellavedova posted a season-high 15 points, nine assists and no turnovers while guard J.R. Smith contributed a season-high 26 points.

Centre Tristan Thompson grabbed 14 rebounds and the Cavaliers' 18 three-pointers represented a season-high.

The team improved to an Eastern Conference-best 11-3 on the same day James won the player of the week award for the East.

They led 59-55 at half-time before Smith scored 11 points in the third and the Magic shot 38 per cent in the quarter (seven of 18).

The Cavs led 92-75 going into the fourth and eventually increased the advantage to 23.

Guard Evan Fournier scored 13 points and guard Victor Oladipo had 10 for the Magic (6-8).


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2015, with the headline 'JAMES IN ELITE CLUB WITH ONLY 2 MEMBERS'. Subscribe