Also per ESPN: “The question is whether the all-time great LeBron James will get in on the all-time great 3-point act around him this season or merely use his passing ability and court sensibility to facilitate for the shooters he takes the floor with from Kyrie Irving to Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson and Iman Shumpert.” (Full report.)
James to reporters, via ESPN: “I have the ability to make 3s. It doesn’t drive my game. Teams sag off me or tempt me to shoot, I got to go up and knock them down. I got to keep defenses at bay and keep them off balance throughout the whole game where they’re just not keying in on my drive or keying in on my post-ups. I got to be able to knock down some outside shots too, so I work on that as well.” (Full report.)
Per ESPN Stats and Information: “James had 44 points and 10 assists in a win over the Hornets. He has 9 games with 40 points and 10 assists in his career. Over the last 30 seasons, only Allen Iverson has more (12). James joins Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and James Harden as players with a 40-10 game this season.”
Per the Elyria Chronicle Telegram: “The Akron native became the first player in NBA history with 27,000 points, 7,000 rebounds and 7,000 assists when he fed Tristan Thompson for a dunk in the first. The small forward is the only non-guard with 7,000 career assists, currently at 7,006.” (Full report.)
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: “At his current pace, James could reach seventh on the all-time scoring list and 12th in assists by the end of the regular season. What’s equally remarkable is the way he has reshaped his body and regained his 3-point stroke.” (Full column.)
- VIDEO: One-on-one with LeBron
Also per the Beacon Journal: “Kyrie Irving went to Tyronn Lue prior to the game and warned him his legs felt dead. Sure enough, Irving’s streak of 12 consecutive games with at least 20 points (a career-long streak and the longest active streak in the NBA) ended after Irving scored just 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting.” (Full column.)
Also per Cleveland.com: “J.R. Smith returned to the starting lineup after missing the last two games because of the minor knee injury he suffered Monday in Toronto. Smith, who entered the game on an 8-for-42 shooting slump, scored six points on 2-of-6 shooting (all 3s) in 32 minutes.” (Full report.)
Per a separate piece from Cleveland.com: “There have been times this season the Cavs would’ve faded without James. Not Saturday. Outscoring the Hornets, 21-9, in those critical minutes played a big role in the double-digit win.” (Full report.)
Per Cavs.com: “Iman Shumpert continued his career season, one that’s seen him hit career highs from the floor, from three-point range and at the stripe — finishing with 16 points off the bench, going 5-of-8 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.” (Full report.)
Per Amico Hoops: “Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 24 points, but sat out the final few minutes after banging knees with James. Walker indicated to the media that he shouldn’t miss any time.” (Full report.)
Per the Charlotte Observer: “Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said pre-game that – both as a player and as a coach — he felt like Hornets guard Nic Batum always beat him. ‘Maybe it’s me,’ Lue commented.” (Full report.)
Per the New York Post: “Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson staged a peace summit at practice Saturday — with the Zen Master clarifying his critical remarks. Anthony said he felt good about the conversation but still took a little tweak at the salty Zen Master, saying he has ‘got to be careful the choice of words he uses.'” (Full report.)
Anthony to reporters, via the New York Post: “We had a little session. We talked. We had a conversation this morning. He said his piece. I said my piece. Two men spoke. He said what he had to say. I don’t want to tell you all what he said. The conversation was good — to hear his perspective on what happened, how it all went down.” (Full report.)
Per ESPN: “Judged purely on wins and losses, Jackson deserves a round of applause for the moves he made in the offseason. The Knicks are off to a promising 13-10 start, with some of Jackson’s offseason acquisitions playing pivotal roles.” (Full column.)
Also per ESPN: “One of LeBron’s close friends is Rich Paul, an agent and the founder of Klutch Sports, which represents several top NBA players (including James). As long as Jackson is president, it’s hard to imagine the Knicks landing a Klutch client in free agency if that player is choosing from a group of suitors.” (Full column.)
Per the Houston Chronicle: “The Rockets’ struggles to return Donatas Motiejunas to their roster stretched on another day on Saturday, even after the team and restricted free agent agreed to a new four-year deal.” (Full report.)
Also per the Houston Chronicle: “Motiejunas was not at Saturday’s game as expected, with Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni saying there had been “some issues,” though he said he did not know enough about the situation to be more specific.” (Full report.)
In a separate piece from the Houston Chronicle: “With 10 road wins, including against San Antonio, Golden State and Oklahoma City, the Rockets could make a case to be mentioned among the contenders.” (Full column.)
Per the Boston Globe: “The Celtics team and staff received a major scare Saturday afternoon when they were alerted of a bomb threat on their flight from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., to Oklahoma City.” (Full report.)
Also per the Boston Globe: “According to team spokesman Jeff Twiss, the Celtics’ contingent arrived in Oklahoma City safely on a private plane and were told to leave their bags and take a bus to the team hotel.” (Full report.)
Per the Memphis Commercial Appeal: “Before coach David Fizdale screamed and pointed his Grizzlies toward a 110-89 victory over the Golden State Warriors in FedExForum, he promised that his troops were capable of doing the improbable.” (Full report.)
Rookie point guard Yogi Ferrell (Indiana), released by the Nets earlier in the week, has cleared waivers and signed with the Long Island Nets of the D-League, per Basketball Insiders.
Former Providence forward and Utah Jazz draft pick Herbert Hill has agreed to a contract with the Saigon Heat of Vietnam, per Amico Hoops.
Undrafted center Jordan Dickerson (Penn State) has signed with Greek club Promitheas, per Amico Hoops.
Another game, another monster night for LeBron.
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) December 11, 2016
Chemistry issues and a lack of success could potentially make Wizards star guard John Wall a trade candidate, per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “The Wall possibilities do appear to grow more interesting by the day, particularly at moments of venting.” (Full report.)
Per ESPN: “Sources with knowledge of Sacramento’s thinking say the Kings believe it’s still on the early side to seriously entertain the idea of parting with DeMarcus Cousins, even with the clock ticking toward the final season of Cousins’ four-year max extension from 2013 and his unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2018.” (Full report.)
Per ESPN: “More evidence to suggest that the Magic, who are openly seeking a scoring boost via trade, are willing to move Mario Hezonja in the right deal.”
Per ESPN: “What would it take for Mark Cuban to trade the Mavs’ upcoming first-round pick? ‘If Herschel Walker calls me up and says, ‘That’s better than any deal I’ve ever been involved with,” Cuban joked.”
Per the Charlotte Observer: “The Hornets average 26.6 free throws attempted per game. Only two other teams – the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets – average more free throws. Meanwhile, the Hornets give up 18 free throws per game, which is the league low.” (Full report.)
Former University of Houston forward Qarraan Calhoun has agreed to a contract with German club Itzehoe, per Amico Hoops.
Undrafted swingman Chris Hass (Bucknell) has agreed to a contract with CEZ Nymburk of the Czech Republic, per Amico Hoops.