CLEVELAND – As shot after shot dropped through the net, it became clear LeBron James was going to have one of those special nights.
The kind he has every so often. The kind he has when teammate Dwyane Wade sits.
James scored 43 points — 25 in the first quarter — and Chris Bosh added 21, leading the Miami Heat to a 100-96 victory Tuesday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played without injured All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.
With Wade out resting his sore knees, James — who is from nearby Akron and started his career with the Cavaliers — took it upon himself to carry the Heat. The same thing happened March 3, and James responded by scoring a career-high 61 against Charlotte.
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“I don’t know, it’s one of those zones,” said James, trying to explain how he made 10 of 11 shots and five three-pointers in a spectacular opening quarter. “When I started the game off, I felt like I could have gone for 50 or 60.”
James made six free throws in the final two minutes as the two-time defending champion Heat got its third victory in eight games.
Jarrett Jack scored 22 points and Dion Waiters added 17 points and 11 assists for Cleveland. Irving is expected to miss about two weeks with a strained biceps tendon.
Former Husky Thomas gets first triple-double
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Isaiah Thomas posted his first career triple-double to help Sacramento outlast the Washington Wizards 117-111 in overtime.
Thomas, 25, a former Washington Huskies guard, collected 24 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. He has scored at least 20 points in 42 games this season.
• Jeff Teague equaled his career best with 34 points, Paul Millsap had the first triple-double of his career and the host Atlanta Hawks extended their longest winning streak of the season to five, beating Toronto 118-113 in overtime.
Millsap contributed 19 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 29 points, but he had two turnovers in the last minute of regulation.
• Wesley Matthews had 26 points, including a key three-pointer in overtime, and host Portland beat Milwaukee 120-115. The Trail Blazers had lost five of their previous six.
• Stephen Curry scored 23 points, former Washington State standout Klay Thompson added 20 and Golden State beat visiting Orlando 103-89. The Magic has lost six in a row.