LOS ANGELES (AFP) - LeBron James scored 36 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers pounded rivals Boston to regain control of the Eastern Conference on Wednesday (April 5) as Russell Westbrook's bid for National Basketball Association (NBA) history was delayed.
The titanic battle between Cleveland and Boston - neck and neck at the top of the conference - never materialised as a fired-up Cavs roared to a 114-91 rout against a shellshocked Celtics.
The win completed a 3-1 season series for Cleveland over the Celtics, meaning the Cavs would win the head-to-head tiebreaker in the event of the two teams finishing regular season level.
The victory also gives the Cavs a useful psychological edge over the Celtics as the two teams gear up for the postseason.
"We played Cavs basketball tonight. When we do that, we're a pretty good team," said James, who finished just four assists shy of what would have been a third straight triple-double.
All of Cleveland's heavy hitters delivered performances to silence the home crowd in Boston. Kevin Love finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds while Kyrie Irving chipped in with 19 points.
In Memphis, Russell Westbrook inspired the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 103-100 win over the Grizzlies with a 45-point display, but was left just one rebound short of setting a new single-season triple-double record.
Westbrook, who equalled Oscar Robertson's 1961-62 season record of 41 triple-doubles on Monday, finished the night with 45 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
Westbrook came within a whisker of the rebound that would have set the record in the closing seconds, only to see the ball plucked away by Grizzlies guard Andrew Harrison.
"It would have been nice if he could have grabbed the ball," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "It bounced off his hands."
Elsewhere in the Western Conference, Golden State clinched home advantage through the playoffs with a comprehensive 120-111 win over the Phoenix Suns.