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LeBron James scored 34 points and passed out 13 assists to spark a revamped Cleveland Cavaliers lineup to a 119-112 NBA victory over visiting Chicago on Tuesday.
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James, whose 13-of-20 shooting included four three-point baskets, was shifted from forward to point guard for the first time in five seasons as Cavs coach Tyronn Lue juggled his lineup in moving guard Dwyane Wade to a reserve role.
“I’m looking for my guys a little bit more starting at the point, especially in transition. I’m being more of a precise, precision passer and I’m not kind of full speed ahead in transition,” James said.
He added: “I’m kind of looking at what’s going on and getting my guys the ball, but for me, I just try to stay in attack mode when need be and, if I see the hot hand, start going for my guys and getting them the ball.”
While they struggled early, particularly defensively, the Cavaliers (3-1) came together to snap a five-game losing streak in meetings with the Bulls (0-3).
Wade, a former James team-mate on two NBA championship teams in Miami who joined the Cavs after playing in Chicago last season, was benched at his own request after struggling as a starter. J.R. Smith moved back into the starting backcourt with James while the frontline saw Kevin Love moved from center to forward with Jae Crowder and Tristan Thompson took over in the middle.
The lineup move came in part because the Cavs are without Derrick Rose due to a sprained left ankle. Love added 20 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland while Wade scored 11 off the bench in only his 12th game as a reserve in 919 games over 15 NBA seasons. -AFP