OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—LeBron James usually claims he doesn’t care about his numbers. Not this time: He couldn’t deny a bit of excitement about the double digits all over his stat line these days.
Just three nights after becoming the youngest player in NBA history with a triple-double, James duplicated the feat in an easy win over the Warriors. Though he claimed not to know his exact totals in the final minutes, the Cavs all knew: They celebrated when Zydrunas Ilgauskas hit a 3-pointer on a final assist from James with 29 seconds left.
“I told you, I’m rolling now,” the 20-year-old James said. “I said that once I got the first (triple-double), I’m rolling. If I can get a triple-double in wins like this, I will love it.”
Over his last six games, James is averaging nearly 28 points, nine rebounds and 8.5 assists per game.
“It’s not a goal of mine to average a triple-double, but that was my New Year’s resolution,” James said, jokingly referring to a promise he made on television recently. “I’ll keep trying to play well and keep getting wins. … It’s hard to average a triple-double, but I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, and I’ll come close to it, though.”
James still is four weeks younger than Lamar Odom was when he became the youngest player to get a triple-double in 1999. James got his first in Portland three days earlier, with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a loss.
“He took over, which he’s capable of doing, and everybody else just followed,” Cleveland coach Paul Silas said. “Every night, his production is going to be there, and you can just write it down.”
James appeared frustrated at several points in Oakland, throwing his clear protective mask back to the bench after one turnover. He even got a technical foul from referee Steve Javie for protesting a reversed call in the third quarter.
But James took control in the fourth for the first-place Cavs and sent the Warriors to their 11th loss in 12 games.
“I love making my teammates happy,” James said. “If you ask any of my teammates now, they’re happy.”
Eric Snow had season highs of 16 points and 12 assists in his first start of the season in place of Jeff McInnis, who sat out to rest his sprained left foot in the finale of Cleveland’s six-game West Coast road trip.
James keyed a 15-3 run in the fourth quarter with eight straight points— including a vicious dunk on a cross-court pass from Snow with 6:53 left.
Jason Richardson scored 22 points for the Warriors, who were dismal in front of just their second sellout crowd of the season. Richardson did a decent job defending James—but even a decent job can’t stop James from affecting the game in countless ways.
“The guy is unbelievable,” Richardson said. “He scores, he rebounds, he passes the ball well. I played against him last year, and I watch him on TV, and he gets better every game. … He picks and chooses his times. He knows that early in the game, teams are going to double- and triple-team him. He just waits until it’s the right time to take over.”
The Cavs won three of six on their road trip, and Silas called it a big success. Cleveland stayed in first place in the Central Division during the trip, increasing the lead to 1 1/2 games when Detroit lost to Chicago earlier Saturday.
Drew Gooden and Ilgauskas had 18 points apiece for the Cavaliers, who led for all but the first 2 1/2 minutes.
The Warriors played without Speedy Claxton and Cliff Robinson when both were scratched from the lineup shortly before tipoff. Claxton couldn’t run well on his bruised right thigh, and Robinson has stiffness in his lower back.
Those injuries, combined with an obvious mental letdown after Friday night’s narrow loss to the Lakers, combined to produce an unimpressive performance.
“I don’t think we really had the energy tonight, and the ball started going down for the Cavs,” Warriors coach Mike Montgomery said. “We just couldn’t get anything going. We started getting frustrated and taking more 3’s, and we didn’t move the ball as much as we like to.”
Cleveland had 30 assists and just eight turnovers. … The Cavaliers were forced to use just their third starting lineup of the season when McInnis was hurt late in Thursday night’s blowout loss at Sacramento. McInnis will be re-evaluated when Cleveland returns home Sunday. … Seahawks receiver Jerry Rice attended the game.