CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James has accomplished plenty of rare feats during his prolific 15-year NBA career, and he added another achievement to an already Hall of Fame-worthy resume.
With his 31-point, 12-rebound, 11-assist showing in Tuesday’s 129-123 win over the Brooklyn Nets at Quicken Loans Arena, James became the first player in NBA history to score 30,000 points, corral 8,000 rebounds and hand out 8,000 assists in a career.
“With the long list of so many great players that have come into this league, in the history of this league, for me to be ‘the only’ in a category, it’s pretty cool,” James said following the win. “It’s pretty cool.
“I take pride in my game. I’ve always taken pride in my game, in being a triple threat since I started playing basketball. I’ve never wanted to be labeled as a scorer. I’ve always wanted to be labeled as an all-around basketball player, and I get more gratification out of assists than anything because to get my guys great looks and they’re knocking down shots, that means a lot to me.”
Even though Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue has seen plenty of amazing accomplishments from James during his career, he was in awe of the latest achievement.
“Wow. A hell of an achievement,” Lue said. “Coming into this league, he’s a pass-first guy, unselfish, but to score 30,000 points? Elite company.
“To do all those other things he does? It just shows he’s a complete, all-around player and probably one of the best our game has seen in terms of all around, passing, dribbling, powerful, shooting the basketball, scoring. He’s just a great player.”
By finishing February with the 31 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists against the Nets, James capped off an impressive recent run, as for the first time in his career, he averaged a triple-double over a month of games.
Over 37.1 minutes per game, James averaged 26.6 points, 10.4 assists and 10.3 rebounds in 10 outings for the Cavaliers.
“Just playing some good ball, and the most consistent thing for me right now is I’m available out there on the floor for my teammates,” James said.
“They give me the room to go out and do what I need to do to help them as much as I can, and for me, in the month of February, to average a triple-double for the first time in my career, I’m just trying to make plays, get rebounds, also trying to score the ball a little bit as well. I will say for me individually, it was a pretty good month.”
James averaged a triple-double at a time when the Cavaliers were reeling from lopsided losses, first at home against the Houston Rockets (120-88) on February 3rd, and then, at the Orlando Magic (116-98) three days later.
Two days after the blowout loss to the Magic, the Cavaliers overhauled their roster by trading six players and a draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, Sacramento Kings and Miami Heat in exchange for three guards, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood, and a forward, Larry Nance Jr.
“He gets better with time,” Lue said. “He’s had a good month, has done a really good job of just carrying the team. We were going through a tough stretch, and he stepped up. He’s able to put this team on his back, on his shoulders, and especially with these new guys, just showing them the way.
“He’s showing those guys a lot of confidence, giving those guys a lot of confidence by talking to them, being positive, and it’s good for a young team going forward.”