CLEVELAND – LeBron James was touched when Tim Duncan, arguably the best power forward in NBA history, pulled him aside following the 2007 NBA Finals.
Although Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs had swept Cleveland, the All-Star center told a young James that the league was about to be his. Duncan was ready to pass the torch.
Nearly 10 years later, Duncan’s still playing.
“So he lied to me,” James said, cracking a wide smile.
James scored 28 points and passed Duncan on the NBA’s career scoring list, and Cleveland had seven other players in double figures as the Cavaliers shook off a slow start for a 120-103 win over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.
There’s been a long connection between James and Duncan. They’ve faced each other three times in the finals and the two are intertwined by their skill and commitment to the game.
“He’s the greatest power forward of all time. If not one of the greatest of all time, period,” James said. “I got so many different stories and so many different things and situations that have been linked to him and we’ve been linked together. Even though he’s a few years older than me, we just stayed linked and I just think what he’s done for this league and what he’s done for the Spurs organization and what he represents is something you can kind of look towards if you ever kind of get sidetracked.
“You look at a guy like that and it kind of puts you right back in place.”
Pacers 100, Wizards 99
In Washington, Paul George scored 38 points, including two free throws with 3 seconds left.
Timberwolves 132, Nets 118
In Minneapolis, Karl-Anthony Towns had 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
Jazz 106, Pelicans 94
In New Orleans, Derrick Favors had 28 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.
Spurs 104, Kings 94
In San Antonio, Kawhi Leonard had 25 points and 13 rebounds and Manu Ginobili added 22 points in his return from a gruesome injury.
Knicks 102, Pistons 81
In New York, Carmelo Anthony had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and the Knicks got a rare win even without the injured Kristaps Porzingis.
Bulls 108, Rockets 100
In Chicago, Pau Gasol finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds, and Jimmy Butler scored 24 points in his return from a strained left knee.
Hawks 107, Clippers 97
In Los Angeles, Jeff Teague scored 22 points and Paul Millsap had 20 points and a season-high 18 rebounds.
Kent Bazemore added 17 points for the Hawks, who were back at Staples Center one night after routing the Lakers 106-77.