Opponents might want to think twice about double-teaming LeBron James.
James, the NBA’s second-leading scorer, had 20 points at Boston on Friday, helping the Cavaliers won 98-96.
The reigning Rookie of the Year, who had a career-high 43 points against Detroit on Wednesday, also had six assists, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks. He also fed teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas for the game-winning basket in the final moments.
“This is my game,” said James, who drew a double-team before finding Ilgauskas for the go-ahead jumper with 20 seconds left. “I’m not going to force a shot. If I have the ball at the end of the game, I can make a play, and I don’t have to shoot.”
Cleveland coach Paul Silas believes the rest of his team will only benefit if opponents continue to swarm James.
“He was giving it up and making them pay, and that’s what’s most important,” Silas said. “And if he keeps doing that it’s going to be hard to double-team (him) because he’s going to make everybody else better. And that’s what super players are supposed to do.”
Drew Gooden added a season-high 27 points and Ilgauskas finished with 26 and eight rebounds as the Cavaliers won for the eighth time in nine games.
The Bulls have been idle since picking up their first win of the season Wednesday, 101-99 at Utah.
Coach Scott Skiles shook things up, inserting 13-year veteran Antonio Davis at center, guard Chris Duhon and rookie forward Luol Deng into the starting lineup. But it was reserve rookie Ben Gordon and Eddy Curry who came up huge as the Bulls avoided a franchise-worst 0-10 start.
Gordon, the third overall pick in this year’s draft, scored a career-high 22 points and Curry added a season-high 21. Deng, leading the Bulls and all rookies in scoring at 15.2 points per game, added 11.
Chicago became the last NBA team to record its first victory this season.
“It’s really exciting, especially for the rookies, because it’s our first win,” said Gordon, who is averaging 19 points in his last three games after scoring just 7.9 in his first seven. “We’re going to celebrate a little bit. Everybody’s happy just to get the monkey off our back.”
The Bulls, wrapping up a season-high, seven-game road trip, have lost 10 of the last 13 road meetings with Cleveland.