One led to the other Saturday night as James scored 26 points to
become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 2,000 in a
career, leading Cleveland to a 96-74 victory over the Chicago
"We worked as a team, the unselfishness was just great," James
said. "We got everyone into the game and came out with a
James, who turns 20 on Dec. 30, reached the milestone faster
than the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, who was 20 years, 183 days old when
he scored his 2,000th point.
"It's a great feeling," James said. "I didn't even know -- it
came so quick. I don't notice things like that, I just notice I'm
So are the Cavaliers, 9-1 after an 0-3 start. Cleveland didn't
get its ninth win last season until Dec. 23, for a 9-19 record.
Eddy Curry scored 20 points to lead Chicago, which has lost 10
of 11 and went 1-6 on a seven-game trip.
"We were tired, no doubt about it," Bulls coach Scott Skiles
said. "But that's no excuse."
Skiles said that as soon as James hit a couple of shots early in
the game, he knew the Bulls were in for a long night.
"It was kind of a mismatch," Skiles said. "He plays at his
pace and there's not much you can do about it. All the great
players are like that."
James hit a 16-foot fadeaway jumper with 1:03 remaining in the
third quarter to reach 2,000. That was his final shot. He went to
the bench after three quarters with the Cavaliers comfortably ahead
"I sat the bench most of the summer," said James in reference
to his lack of playing time for the U.S. Olympic Team. "Now, I'm
having much fun. We're getting wins and playing so well we can
pretty much compete with anybody."
The reigning NBA rookie of the year hit six of his first seven
shots and had 17 points in the first half. He finished 11-for-17
from the field, mostly on dunks and spin moves to the basket. The
most sensational was a resounding slam off an alley-oop pass from
McInnis that sparked the Cavaliers on an 18-7 run early in the
"We're having a lot of fun out there," McInnis said. "We're
looking for each other, defending, playing in transition."
James, who played 43 minutes Friday night in a 98-96 victory in
Boston, finished with seven assists and seven rebounds in 32
"He's legit, he's the real deal," said Bulls guard Kirk
Hinrich, who scored only six points on 3-for-10 shooting.
Rookie Luol Deng added 12 points for Chicago, which was coming
off its only win of the season Wednesday night in Utah. The Bulls
never led and trailed by as many as 30 at 88-58.
James' scoring average of 26.6 is second to Bryant's
league-leading average of 29.0 this season. ... Actor Dan Akroyd
took part in pregame introductions as the Cavaliers' "sixth man."
... Chicago is 1-7 on the road; Cleveland is 6-1 at home. ... The
Bulls are 3-11 in their last 14 games at Gund Arena. ... McInnis
hit four and rookie Luke Jackson two of Cleveland's season-high
eight 3-pointers. ... Ilgauskas passed Phil Hubbard and Jim Chones
for fifth place on Cleveland's all-time offensive rebounds list