CLEVELAND (AP) – LeBron James picked up the ball and picked him up so everyone could see him – the perfect pose.
While the crowd stood and roared after seeing the story, James took a moment to enjoy the adoration before going back to work.
Michael Jordan would have done the same.
James scored two digits in his 867th straight game, breaking the record he linked to his idol Jordan, and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied against the New Orleans Hornets 107-102 on Friday night not to break the table.
James finished another outstanding performance in his MVP-worthy 15th NBA season with 27 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds.
However, this game will not be remembered for this stat line, or James takes over in the crunch time.
This was the night James James caught ̵
"This is a good moment, a special moment, not only for myself, but for my family and for so many kids looking up to know that you can get out there and know and know where I came from, "said James. "You know, 30 minutes south of here, and the statistics are always against you, and for me to be in that position today, to be able to accomplish something that many thought would not happen again or could break such a record.
"It means a lot to me and it means more to the youth who needs hope."
Jordan Clarkson added 23 points and Tristan Thompson had 14 rebounds in 21 minutes for the Cavs, who have won seven out of eight. A loss would have dropped the three-time Eastern Conference titleholder from third to fifth, with only a handful of games left in the regular season.
Jrue Holiday scored 25 and Nikola Mirotic 20 for New Orleans, who slipped to eighth in the Western Conference. Pelican star Anthony Davis scored only 16 – 12 below his average – on 6-of-19 shooting when he was molested by Thompson and Larry Nance Jr.
James surpassed Jordan's mark in the middle of the first quarter in a fitting manner and delivered a two-handed dunk that Mirotic and Pelican striker Solomon Hill did not dare to attempt.
During a break in the game, James came over and picked up the plaything he would like to add to his overloaded trophy case at home. He then saluted the crowd that included pop superstar Justin Timberlake.
Jordan's mark had stood since 2001, and it's unbelievable how long James can extend his streaks before ending a career without a clear finish line in sight.
"This number will continue," Thompson said. "He can do it until he's tired of it, it'll be on him."
As many times before, James took over when it mattered most.
The Cavs built a 95-88 lead on the strength of three 3-hands in a span of 1:33 in the fourth. Holiday held New Orleans nearby, before James made two free throws and three jumpers, the final 1:59.
"LeBron simply accepted the game and fired shots we would like to see," said Pelican coach Alvin Gentry. "We tried to stop him from getting in the basket, but he hit three hard hits, that's kind of who he is."
Pelicans: G Rajon Rondo returned after losing two games with a sprained right wrist. He scored seven points. … Davis missed his first six shots. He also suspended the first eight minutes of the second quarter as the pelicans opened a 13-point lead.
Cavaliers: It would not be a Cavs game without injury as G Hill injured his left ankle in the third quarter. He will be judged on Saturday. … James has tied Kobe Bryant for third place with 941 games of 20 or more points. .. J. R. Smith played, although he missed the morning shootout with an unspecified illness. … James has averaged 30.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 10.1 assists in his last 23 games.
Davis had an average of 31.3 points in his last seven games, scoring 60 percent.
"I missed a lot of shots," he said. "I have to play better, if I take half of the shots I missed, we probably would not even be in that situation, it's up to me."
With Kevin Love, who has returned from a concussion, the cavaliers who had been dealing with injuries since the first day were closer to full strength on the court. You will also be healthier.
Coach Tyronn Lue, who was absent from the team, participated in the match but did not sit on the bench. Lue last coached on March 17, when he did not return to Chicago at half-time out of the locker room. Two days later, he announced he had chest pain and sleeplessness all season.
The Cavaliers want him to stay away as long as necessary, but interim coach Larry Drew said Lue could be "back soon".
Pelicans: Host Oklahoma City on Sunday.
Cavaliers: Host Dallas on Sunday.