Page last updated on Sat Mar 28 21:06:55 EDT 2015
01/17/2013 2:10 AM EST
James eclipses 20K points, Heat top Warriors 92-75

AP Sports Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and team
president Pat Riley took a moment in the locker room late
Wednesday night to give LeBron James the game ball and recognize
his latest record.

Players shouted and huddled in the center of the room. Then, as
Spoelstra said, "Everybody took a shot at him - a punch, a jab,
an elbow, whatever they could get in before he started hitting

Just a small sampling of the hurt James has put on the rest of
the NBA for the last decade.

James became the youngest player in league history to score
20,000 points and also surpassed 5,000 assists on a milestone
night, leading the Heat to a 92-75 victory over the undermanned
Golden State Warriors.

On a road trip that has had more bad news than good, James
rewrote the headlines and the record books. He finished with 25
points, 10 assists and seven rebounds in just 30 minutes to grab
his latest slice of history.

"It means everything," James said. "It means a lot. First of
all, like I continue to say, it means I've been able to be
healthy. To be out on the floor and do what I love to do, I love
the game of basketball and I try to give everything to the game.
And hopefully it continues to give back to me."

James eclipsed both marks before halftime, helped Miami go ahead
by 34 points in the third quarter and allowed Spoelstra to rest
his starters - without debate this time - for the fourth. Dwyane
Wade added 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Mario
Chalmers scored 15 for the Heat, who had lost three of their
last four away from home.

David Lee had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Jarrett Jack scored
16 in place of Stephen Curry, who sprained his twice surgically
repaired right ankle during Golden State's morning practice. The
team said X-rays were negative, and Warriors coach Mark Jackson
said he doesn't expect Curry to be out long.

The Warriors, who upset the Heat 97-95 in Miami on Dec. 12, lost
consecutive games for only the third time this season. With
center Andrew Bogut already out indefinitely recovering from
left ankle surgery, Curry's absence turned out to be too much to
overcome against the defending NBA champions.

"Disappointing, but we faced a team that remembered what took
place in South Beach and came with a mindset to make a point,
individually and collectively," Jackson said. "That's what great
players do."

James and Wade just overwhelmed the Warriors from the start.

Wade lobbed an alley-oop from halfcourt that James finished with
two hands early in the first quarter. James hit Wade slicing
down the lane for a dunk moments later for his 5,000th career
assist, and James made a 3-pointer after falling hard on his
right elbow a play earlier to give the Heat a 23-14 lead.

James, who made 11 of 20 shots from the floor, surpassed the
scoring mark when he dribbled from the wing and pulled up in the
lane to make an off-balance jumper with 2:45 remaining in the
second quarter to give him 20,001 career points. He needed 18
points entering the game to become the 38th NBA player to reach
the milestone.

James said he knew before the shot he was a point away from the

"The best part about it is I was in a rhythm, too, so it wasn't
one of those forced shots," he said. "I was able to get the
switch on David Lee and get to the elbow and make a shot. It's
pretty cool."

Previously, the youngest player to score 20,000 points was
Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who got there when he was 29 years, 122
days old. James was 28 years, 17 days on Wednesday.

"He probably would've had it sooner if he didn't decide to come
down here to South Beach," Wade said. "It's just a testament to
him as a player."

James already was the youngest player in league history to win
Rookie of the Year, record a triple-double, score 1,000 points,
score 10,000 points and win MVP honors at an All-Star game. Only
Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain (29 years, 134 days) and Michael Jordan
(29 years, 326 days) reached the latest milestone before turning

James also is the 13th player with 20,000 points and 5,000
assists. The only active players to reach both marks are Bryant
and Boston's Kevin Garnett.

"That's a big-time moment," Spoelstra said. "He's a special guy.
He's a special player. He's a once-in-a-generational type of

With the long-awaited record out of the way, James and Wade
switched roles and opened the second half almost the same way
the duo began the first.

Wade tossed an alley-oop just inside halfcourt to James while
two Warriors defenders watched the three-time NBA MVP soar for
the slam, part of a scintillating 26-6 surge filled with
highlights to open the third quarter and put the Heat ahead

In a 104-97 loss at Utah on Monday, Spoelstra sat Wade and
played Chris Bosh for just 40 seconds in the fourth quarter in a
decision that had been critiqued and questioned for the past two
days by fans and national media. The Heat sliced a 19-point
deficit to two without both before falling short.

This time, the Big Three watched the final 12 minutes smiling
from the bench.

"Hopefully," Spoelstra said, "we can put to rest everything that
happened the other night."

NOTES: In terms of games played, James is the seventh-fastest to
join the 20,000 club. Wednesday was his 726th regular-season
game. Chamberlain needed only 499 games to score 20,000 points.
... The Warriors fell to 13-3 against the Eastern Conference
this season. The two other losses came against Orlando. ... Heat
backup F Shane Battier returned after missing two games with a
hamstring injury. He had two rebounds and finished 0 for 3 from
3-point range in 10 minutes.

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