NBA Highlights: James dishes 17 assists to beat Hawks

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NBA Nightly Notable, Game Highlights:
LeBron James drops 25, dishes out 17 assists in Cavs win over Hawks


By STEVE HERRICK, Associated Press
CLEVELAND — LeBron James always takes pride in being efficient. His numbers Tuesday night were several steps beyond that.
James had 25 points and tied a career-high with 17 assists, as Cleveland defeated the Atlanta Hawks 123-114 — the Cavaliers’ 15th win in 16 games.
James, as he has done all season, turned in an almost error-free performance. He was 11 of 13 from the field, had seven rebounds and two turnovers. James was given a standing ovation when he was removed from the game with 2:34 remaining.
The four-time MVP set the tone for the entire team. The Cavaliers hit a season-high 20 3-pointers, including nine in the first quarter. Cleveland had a season-high 35 assists.
“For me to get assists means somebody’s making shots,” James said. “That’s always been an enjoyment of mine to be able to see my teammates reap the benefits of the pass that I try to put on time and on target.”


The Cavs LeBron James passes the basketball

Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, right, passes against Atlanta Hawks’ Taurean Prince in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)


Kyle Korver had 19 points, including six 3-pointers. Kevin Love, returning after missing a game with a hip injury, scored 17 points, all in the first half. Love had 11 points in the first quarter after sitting out Saturday’s game against Philadelphia. He had 12 rebounds.
Cleveland’s ball movement kept Atlanta’s defenders scrambling all night in chasing the open man.
“Guys are sharing the ball extremely well,” James said. “When the ball is moving, energy is behind it and guys are in rhythm.”
“It’s a tried and true formula,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “You have a great player and you surround him with 3-point shooters. LeBron is obviously a great player and a great facilitator. We defended him pretty well but when we pressured the ball, he kicked it out for open shots.”
James is shooting 58 percent from the field and still makes a point of finding teammates.
“That’s just who I am,” he said. “I’ve never liked being a volume shooter. That’s just not my game. Me being efficient just helps our team ultimately.”
Atlanta fell to 6-21, the worst record in the league. Taurean Prince scored a career-high 24 points while Kent Bazemore had 20.
Cavaliers guard Dwyane Wade missed the game because of a sore left knee. He is averaging 11.5 points and shooting 46 percent.
The Cavaliers built a 24-point lead in the fourth quarter and set a team record with 10 or more 3-pointers in 17 consecutive games.
The Hawks defeated the Cavaliers 117-115 in Cleveland on Nov. 5, which was Atlanta’s second win of the season. Atlanta had beaten Cleveland three of the last four games dating to last season.
Dennis Schroder scored 14 points after sitting out the final 8:14 of the Hawks’ loss in New York on Sunday.
Jose Calderon had a season-high 14 points.



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