Murray, Spurs soar past Cavs as LeBron hits 30,000 career points

By RJ Marquez - Digital Content Curator, RAUL DOMINGUEZ, Associated Press

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - LeBron James became the youngest player ever with 30,000 career points, but LaMarcus Aldridge scored 30 points to lift the San Antonio Spurs over the slumping Cleveland Cavaliers 114-102 on Tuesday night.

James had 28 points while becoming the seventh member of the 30,000-point club, yet he couldn't keep the Cavaliers from dropping their 10th in 13 games.

Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray - friend and mentee of James - had 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals in his second start since replacing a healthy Tony Parker.

Murray was asked about his new role as the starting point guard. "Of course I was happy, but I have a long way to go. Tony Parker is a future Hall of Famer. He paid his dues, he did everything in this league, and I have a lot of work to do."

Murray athleticism was on display throughout the night. He soared for a tip follow and then rose to disrupt James' driving layup, which led to a 3-pointer by Danny Green that gave the Spurs a 105-94 lead with 4:20 remaining. Before that, he threw down a thunderous one-handed dunk that got the crowd on their feet.

"He's fearless, he's not impressed," Gregg Popovich said. "He's learning how to play the game and doing a fine job."

Murray's effort helped San Antonio push past Cleveland in a battle between teams entangled in turmoil.

The Spurs denied reports that injured superstar Kawhi Leonard is unhappy with how the team is handling his right quadriceps tendinopathy and may possibly want to leave San Antonio. Leonard missed his 40th game of the season Tuesday night.

As has been the case for a majority of the season, Aldridge carried the load in Leonard's absence.

Aldridge made 12 of 18 shots and added eight rebounds to go along with his 30 points. Moments before the game, Aldridge learned he was selected to play in his sixth career NBA All-Star Game. It's his second All-Star selection as a member of the Spurs. 

Kyle Anderson had a double-double, 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Davis Bertans chipped in 13 points for the Spurs.

It is another quick turnaround for San Antonio as they hit the road for a game at Memphis on Wednesday night. They return home for a game against Philadelphia on Friday.


Cavaliers: With 30,021 points, James joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) and Dirk Nowitzki (30,808) on the list. ... Iman Shumpert returned after missing two months following arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He played seven minutes Nov. 27 against Philadelphia in his previous appearance. ... Cleveland's bench is averaging a franchise best 41.1 points per game this season. ... The Cavs have allowed 100 points in four straight games.

Spurs: Aldridge was named an All-Star reserve. He is the first Spurs player who didn't play his rookie season in San Antonio to make the All-Star team since Artis Gilmore in 1986. ... San Antonio is 38-7 at home against Cleveland. ... Pau Gasol did not play after spraining his right wrist against Indiana on Sunday. ... The Spurs have had at least one player selected for the All-Star Game in 39 of 41 years, missing out in 1989 and 1997.

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