INDEPENDENCE — LeBron James added to his seemingly unprecedented feats Tuesday night at Kyrie Irving’s expense.
In the third quarter of the Cavaliers’ 128-96 victory over the Pistons at Quicken Loans Arena, James ran over Irving in the backcourt going for a rebound as he looked to start the fast break.
But James managed to help Irving up, kept his dribble and avoided an eight-second violation.
“Just trying to do multiple things that I’ve always been accustomed to doing,” James said.
Of late, James has been doing multiple things better than he ever has in his 14-year career.
With 16 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists against the Pistons, he became the first Cavalier to record at least 10 triple-doubles in a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
It also marked the first time in NBA history that three players – James, Russell Westbrook and James Harden — had recorded double-digit triple-doubles in a season, also per Elias.
Going into tonight’s home game against the Utah Jazz, James has posted three triple-doubles in his last four games. He’s averaging 25.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 8.9 assists. In his last eight games, those numbers increase to 27.4 points, 12.1 rebounds and 8.8 assists.
“He’s almost averaging a triple-double,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said after Tuesday’s game. “He’s been in a great rhythm these last couple months.”
Irving said he’s seen one change in James of late.
“Energy level. It’s at an unbelievable high since All-Star break,” Irving said. “He’s come back even stronger, even quicker, if he can even do that. Making the right passes on the money, getting guys in sets and making the right plays offensively and defensively.”
When James was asked about his recent run of triple-doubles, backup point guard Deron Williams chimed in, saying, “I inspired him.”
James said playing in the second unit with Williams has allowed him to set a lot of pick-and-rolls and slip to the rim, which helps his rebound total. If he’s covered at the rim, he can pass to open shooters.
“I’m just trying to put myself in position to help the team be successful and do it in all facets of the game,” James said Tuesday night. “I just try to put it on time and on target. Those guys make the shots and that’s why I’m able to get the assists. But I’m also just being efficient. That’s something I take pride in.”
Channing Frye was in awe Saturday night in Orlando after James notched back-to-back triple-doubles against the Pistons and Magic.
Asked about James’ efficiency, Frye said, “I think it’s underrated. I think people are just bored with greatness. It’s crazy to get triple-doubles like that.
“We’ll see what happens when Kevin (Love) gets back — he might steal a couple boards. I think people need to respect what he’s doing for us in helping us win.”