Efficient LeBron leading the way for Cavs

BY foxsports • January 29, 2016

LeBron James took offense when reports recently surfaced that some around the game consider him to be a "coach killer."

He's certainly made new coach Tyronn Lue look good with his remarkable efficiency in the Cleveland Cavaliers' back-to-back victories.

James and the Cavaliers go for a third consecutive win under Lue as they look to avoid a second straight road loss to the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Though James' 23.0 points per game over the last two is below his season average, his shooting has been exceptionally accurate, going 18 of 23 in those contests. He needs 15 points to become the 17th player with 26,000.

James scored 21 and shot 7 of 8 in a 115-93 win over Phoenix on Wednesday, a day after Miami minority owner Raanan Katz said in a radio interview that James wanted Erik Spoelstra fired when he was with the Heat.

Katz later retracted his statement, but not after his comments led to further speculation that James had pushed for Cleveland's front office to fire David Blatt last week. James insists he hasn't undermined his coaches.

"I can't worry about a select group of people that want to use their negative energy to take away my positive energy," he said.

James' recent performances have re-energized a Cleveland team that shot 37.2 percent in a 96-83 home loss to Chicago in Lue's debut Saturday. The Cavs have averaged 114.5 points and 52.9 shooting in the ensuing two wins.

"I think that's the way we want to play is fun, everybody gets involved," said Lue, who will coach the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game on Feb. 14.

Following a 3-1 homestand, Lue's club looks for its ninth win in 10 road games. Detroit, though, has given up an average of 94.5 points in its last two overall.

"If we could ever play consistently for 48 minutes, we'd have a chance to do some big things," coach Stan Van Gundy said.

Cleveland (32-15) is tied for the best road record in the Eastern Conference at 14-9 and has limited opponents to 92.4 points per game in regulation in its last nine away from home.

The Cavs, however, did not have an answer for the Pistons' Andre Drummond in a 104-99 loss Nov. 17. The center, shooting 35.5 percent from the free-throw line, had 25 points and 18 rebounds while going 4 of 5 on foul shots in the last three minutes.

Reggie Jackson took advantage of Kyrie Irving's absence, scoring 23 to go with 12 assists after Cleveland had won six of the previous seven matchups.

James scored 30 and Kevin Love added 19 for the Cavs. Love has totaled 43 points in his last two trips to Detroit (25-21), but James' 24.4 career scoring average versus the Pistons is his lowest against any East opponent.

Jackson led the way with 27 points and Drummond had 25 points and 18 boards in Wednesday's 110-97 home victory over Philadelphia. Jackson has scored 56 with seven 3-pointers in the team's back-to-back wins, while Drummond bounced back after totaling 11 points and 14 rebounds over his previous two games.

"He had his energy back and he played like a great player again," Jackson said.