Unstoppable LeBron says age is merely a numbers game

LeBron James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 109-100 win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday. It was his 60th career triple-double, overtaking Larry Bird, who has now been pushed down to seventh on the all-time list.
LeBron James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 109-100 win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday. It was his 60th career triple-double, overtaking Larry Bird, who has now been pushed down to seventh on the all-time list.PHOTO: REUTERS

CLEVELAND (Ohio) • LeBron James posted his 60th National Basketball Association (NBA) triple-double on Saturday, overtaking Larry Bird on the all-time list and leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 109-100 victory over the Utah Jazz.

James scored 29 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and handed out 10 assists. It was his third triple-double - putting up double digits in three statistical categories - in the four-game home stretch that concluded on Saturday.

His drive to the basket with one second left in the third quarter gave Cleveland (22-8) an 80-73 lead going into the fourth, and he scored 10 points in the final period.

James scored or assisted on Cleveland's first 13 points. He connected on nine of his 15 shots and made all 10 of his free throws.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, who earned his 100th regular-season victory since being promoted to the job last year, insisted that it is unlikely another player of James' calibre will come along soon.

"There's not going to be a lot of other guys as good as LeBron James," Lue, as reported by ESPN, said of the 32-year-old James, who turns 33 on Dec 30 . "What he's doing at his age, his 15th year, is unbelievable. It's a tribute to him taking care of his body, doing all the right things, eating healthy, stretching, getting his treatment, and then putting the work in.

"I think as he's gotten older, he's added that three-point shot to his game the last of couple years.

"And when he's making that shot, it opens up everything else for him. So it's just a tribute to him and what he does as a professional, taking care of himself, taking care of his body, working on his game."

For James, he explained that advancing age will never be a barrier to how well one can play.

"I feel good," he said. "I mean, this is my 15th year, but this is one of the best years I've had as far as how I feel and I want to continue that.

"I want to kind of try to break the mould just for the next generation, just take the narrative out of, 'You're past your prime when you hit 31', or 'You're past your prime in your 12th year in the league', or whatever the case may be."

Next up on the all-time list is NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain, who had 78 triple-doubles during his illustrious career.

Kevin Love had 15 points and five rebounds, and rookie Cedi Osman scored a career-high 10 points for Cleveland, who are 17-1 since Nov 11 and notched an 11th straight home win. Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz (14-16) with 26 points.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2017, with the headline 'Unstoppable LeBron says age is merely a numbers game'. Print Edition | Subscribe