LeBron James walked off the court in frustration at bad passes and silly turnovers Saturday — and that was with Cleveland leading by a game-high 26 points in an NBA romp over Atlanta.
The superstar playmaker had 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists while Kevin Love had 25 points and 11 rebounds to spark the Cavaliers, who boosted the best record in the Eastern Conference to 10-3.
But the most memorable moment in the rout came when James watched Jared Cunningham throw a bad pass out of bounds, then abruptly signaled to be replaced by a substitute and stormed off the court for a seat on the bench.
The Cavaliers didn’t have enough time to get a replacement into the game and were whistled for a technical foul for only having four players on the court.
“I blew a gasket,” said James, who apologized to his teammates after the game.
“He was frustrated, knew we weren’t playing right,” Cavaliers coach Dave Blatt said. “I understand his frustration but obviously you shouldn’t do that.”
Blatt said he didn’t like first half shot selection and lammented bad passes, turnovers and defensive breakdowns in the second half.
“It was kind of disjointed in terms of how well we played at some moments and then how helter-skelter and off-keel we played at other moments,” Blatt said. “That’s not what we should be. We know better than that, let’s put it that way.”
The Cavaliers were down to a pair of healthy regular starters with Russian center Timofey Mozgov sidelined by a right shoulder strain while star Kyrie Irving and his backcourt injury replacement, Mo Williams, were both absent.
Trisan Thompson grabbed 16 rebounds and matched a career high with five assists for the Cavaliers, who stayed unbeaten after seven home games.
Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap each had 14 points the for Hawks, who fell to 9-6.
– Sixers remain winless –
The winless Philadelphia 76ers led late in the fourth quarter at Miami and appeared set for their first victory of the season, but the Heat rallied for a 96-91 triumph, dropping the Sixers to 0-14.
Dwyane Wade scored a season-high 27 points for the Heat while Isaiah Canaan scored 22 for Miami.
Philadelphia has lost 24 games in a row dating to last season, the 76ers most recent victory last March 25 at Denver.
At San Antonio, Kawhi Leonard scored 19 points while Tony Parker scored all 18 of his in the first half and Manu Ginobili added 15 points to spark the San Antonio Spurs over visiting Memphis 92-82.
– Porzingis sparks Knicks win –
Latvian 20-year-old rookie center Kristaps Porzingis scored 24 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked a career-high seven shots to power New York’s 107-102 victory at Houston, stretching the Knicks’ win streak to four games.
The Knicks (8-6) had lost 11 in a row to the Rockets and had not won in Houston since 2004.
Sacramento forward DeMarcus Cousins scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to spark the Kings to a 97-91 victory at Orlando. Cousins, back after a one-game ban for elbowing Atlanta’s Al Horford in the jaw, hit 13-of-15 free throws and added six assists and three blocked shots.
Brazil’s Nene Hilario scored a season-high 18 points off the bench to spark the Washington Wizards in a 97-95 victory at Detroit.
C.J. Miles scored 13 of his season-high 21 points in Indiana’s season-best 35-point third quarter and the host Pacers defeated Milwaukee 123-86. Paul George and Jordan Hill each added 20 points. Greg Monroe had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Bucks. – Agence France-Presse