NBA: Cavs win; LeBron James becomes youngest to reach 15,000 pts
By ANDREW SELIGMAN
AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO — LeBron James became the youngest player to score 15,000 career points, breaking Kobe Bryant’s mark by more than two years, and the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled away to beat Chicago 92-85 on Friday night for their 12th win in 13 games.
James scored 13 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, giving him 15,026 in his career, and had 11 rebounds. He scored seven straight late in the game as Cleveland increased its lead to 10, sending the Bulls to their 10th straight loss.
James reached the milestone at 25 years, 79 days, and he did it in his 540th game. Bryant was 27 years, 136 days and playing his 657th game, according to STATS LLC, when he did it for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Mo Williams added 18 points for the Cavaliers, who continued to roll without the injured Shaquille O’Neal. They’re 10-1 with their big man recovering from a thumb injury.
The Bulls hung close without the injured Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, but matched their longest losing streak since November 2001 despite strong efforts by rookies Taj Gibson (20 points, 13 rebounds) and James Johnson (16 points).
James, who reached the 15,000-point mark in the opening minutes, put away the Bulls in the closing minutes.
@Tab0: He checked back into the game with just over 7 minutes left and Chicago up 75-73 and immediately delivered a two-handed dunk, hanging on the rim. He hit back-to-back jumpers before a 3-pointer by Anthony Parker gave Cleveland an 83-78 lead with about 4 minutes left, and James scored seven straight after a dunk by the Bul Deng could miss two to three more weeks because of a strained
right calf, putting his status for the rest of the season in question. Rose has now missed four straight because of a sprained left wrist he sustained in a collision with Orlando’s Dwight Howard. He is a gametime decision for Saturday at Philadelphia, as is center Joakim Noah, who has missed the past 10 games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
The injuries came at a bad time for the Bulls, who just wrapped up a stretch of nine straight against contenders, yet they hung in against the team with the league’s best record.
James soared in for a hard right-handed dunk on a break about 4:40 into the game and hit two free throws about 40 seconds later, giving him 15,001 career points.
NOTES: Olympic speedskating gold medalist Shani Davis of Chicago received a loud ovation when he was introduced during a timeout in the first quarter. ... The Bulls won green uniforms in a belated nod to St. Patrick’s Day.