NBA wrap: Spurs spoils LeBron James' 30,000th-point celebration

LeBron James scored his 30,000th point in San Antonio on Tuesday night, but the celebration didn't last long, as the Spurs rolled to a win.

LeBron James scored his 30,000th point, but that couldn’t help the Cavaliers to victory.   -  AFP

With a jump shot in the closing seconds of the first quarter on Tuesday night in San Antonio, LeBron James became the seventh player in NBA history to score 30,000 points in his career. The celebration didn’t last long.

The milestone basket put the Cavaliers up 29-25 after one quarter, but by the end of the second quarter, the Cavs was down by eight, 63-55. By then, it seemed clear to most watching the game: Despite the latest in James' infinite list of accomplishments, this wasn’t the night the Cavs was to bust out of their funk.

A James dunk did cut San Antonio’s lead to three, 82-79, with 1:15 left in the third quarter, but that’s as close as Cleveland was going to get. From there, the Spurs outscored the Cavs 32-23 en route to a 114-102 victory.

LaMarcus Aldridge led San Antonio with 30 points, and James finished with 28 for Cleveland.

While the Cavs have been mired in the muck, it hasn’t been hunky-dory in San Antonio, either. There’s been reports of friction between the franchise and injured star Kawhi Leonard, and the Spurs has been losing plenty of games themselves of late. The win over Cleveland snapped a two-game skid, and they are a middling 6-6 since the New Year. San Antonio visits the Grizzlies on Wednesday night.

Next up for the Cavs is a home game on Friday against the Pacers, where Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue promises to shake things up as it look to break out of a 3-13 slump.

STUD OF THE NIGHT

Known more for his defense than his scoring, Kings seventh-year shooting guard Garrett Temple dropped a career-high 34 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter, as Sacramento won in Orlando 105-99 in a matchup of teams tied for the NBA’s worst record (14-33). The win ended the Kings’ season-high eight-game losing streak, and trade deadline buyers must have been paying attention to what Temple was up to.

DUD OF THE NIGHT

The Thunder snuck past the visiting Nets 109-108, but Carmelo Anthony doesn’t get much of the credit. ‘Melo scored just 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting, had exactly zero assists and registered a minus-7. He played about six minutes and scored only four points in the fourth quarter, when OKC erased an 11-point deficit.

HIGHLIGHTS

In addition to James' 30,000th point, Jeff Green’s posterization of Davis Bertans brought some joy to Cavaliers fans on another losing night. A few hours after being confirmed as a Slam Dunk Contest participant, Magic forward Aaron Gordon elevated over 7-footer Georgios Papagiannis. Not to be outdone, 40-year-old Vince Carter blew past Gordon for this third-quarter dunk.

WHAT’S NEXT

Pelicans (25-21) at Hornets (19-26), Okay, so Pels vs. Bugs isn’t the sexiest NBA matchup, even on a less-than-enthralling Wednesday night slate, but blink and you may miss something spectacular from one of New Orleans’ bigs. In Monday night’s home win over the Bulls, DeMarcus Cousins posted an historic stat line of 44 points, 24 rebounds and 10 assists, and just last week, Anthony Davis wrote some history of his own with back-to-back 45-point, 15-rebound games. Keep your eye on Charlotte on Wednesday night.