LeBron James ties Cavs’ career assists record in win over Suns
CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James tied Cleveland’s career assists record and scored 17 points in the Cavaliers’ 89-79 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.
James tied Mark Price at 4,206 assists in the third quarter. James was 6 for 16 from the field and had eight assists and six rebounds to help the Cavaliers win their 13th straight at home and move into a tie for second with Chicago in the Eastern Conference.
Timofey Mozgov led the Cavaliers with 19 points. Tristan Thompson had 15 points with 12 rebounds, and Kevin Love finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Markieff Morris scored 16 points to lead Phoenix. The Suns fell two games behind eighth-place Oklahoma City in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Cavaliers built a 32-point lead in the third quarter, but the Suns cut it to 17 early in the fourth — prompting James’ return. After the Suns got it to 84-74, Thompson made two free throws and James hit a 3-pointer to seal the win.
James was on the receiving end of some nifty passing in the third. Kyrie Irving drove the baseline and passed in the corner to Love, who threw a behind-the-back pass to James. The four-time MVP pass cut down the lane for a layup, bringing the crowd to its feet.
The home winning streak is Cleveland’s longest since winning 16 straight from Feb. 11-April 12, 2009.
The Suns, who missed their first 21 3-point attempts Friday night in an overtime win in Brooklyn, made their first three attempts from behind the arc Saturday but cooled off considerably and finished 9 of 25.
P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green each scored 11 points for Phoenix.
James scored 18 points and was 5 for 17 from the field with nine turnovers, one short of his career high, on Friday night in a loss in Atlanta.
The Cavaliers lost to the Suns 107-100 on Jan. 13 in Phoenix, the day James returned after missing eight games with back and knee injuries. Markieff Morris had a career-high 35 points on 15-of-21 shooting.
TIP INS Suns: C Alex Len was out after twisting his right ankle Friday at Brooklyn, an injury that first occurred before the All-Star break. "I don’t think he ever fully recovered from it, so it’s a little sore," coach Jeff Hornacek said. G Eric Bledsoe slipped to the floor while driving in the lane in the second quarter, causing his shot to land on top of the backboard.
Cavaliers: The team will practice Monday after being off Sunday. "We really need to have a good practice," coach David Blatt said. "It’s been awhile because of our schedule. Looking forward to it, actually." Blatt praised the University of Kentucky for finishing the regular season with a 31-0 record. That’s a fabulous accomplishment," he said. "It’s incredibly difficult, the pressure that’s on the team day after day. Good for them." Blatt said F Shawn Marion (strained left hip) is close to resuming on-court activities.
Suns: Host Golden State on Monday night.
Cavaliers: Play at Dallas on Tuesday night.