Lakers extend winning streak to 9 over Cavs

LOS ANGELES, USA – LeBron James scored 23 of his 31 points in the second half as the Los Angeles Lakers broke open a close game to register a ninth straight NBA victory, 128-99 over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With Lakers star Anthony Davis still sidelined by a sore backside from a fall, Dwight Howard added season highs of 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Western Conference leaders.

James added 8 assists and passed Isiah Thomas for 8th place on the league's all-time list. He now has 9,067 career assists.

"Any time I'm linked with the greats it's just an honor," James said of passing Thomas.

James, who missed the Lakers' last game because of illness, improved to 2-0 against the Cavaliers since he departed Cleveland for Los Angeles in 2018.

The Cavs had leapt to a 14-point lead in the first half but the Lakers had cut the deficit to one point at the interval and exploded with 81 points in the second half.

"Defensively we got stops and we had great pace. Even when they scored we got the ball out and continued to play with a lot of pace," James said. "That allows us to get into our offense. We're playing with a lot of balance."

Records tumble

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander wrote himself into the record books in Minnesota, helping propel the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 117-104 over the Timberwolves with his first career triple-double.

Seven Thunder players scored in double figures but Gilgeous-Alexander stole the show with 20 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists.

His rebound total was a career high – and the most in the league by a guard in a game this season.

He joined former Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook as the only guards with 20-point, 20-rebound triple-doubles in the last 30 seasons.

At 21 years and 185 days old he became the youngest player in league history with a 20-rebound triple-double – breaking a mark set by Shaquille O'Neal in 1993.

"Coach just challenged me before the game to fill the stat sheet," the second-year player from Canada said. "He knows what I'm capable of. I just wanted to step up to the challenge personally." – Rappler.com