LeBron James ties MJ's NBA record of 866 straight games with 10 points or more

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- LeBron James joined Michael Jordan in the record books Wednesday as perhaps the most consistent scorer in NBA history while playing against the team that Jordan owns.

James tied Jordan's league record of 866 consecutive games with 10 points or more in the first half of the Cleveland Cavaliers' 118-105 win over the Hornets, hitting the mark off an alley-oop from JR Smith with 6:10 remaining in the second quarter.

James kept up the scoring from there, totaling 35 points by the end of the third quarter. It was the 20th time in his career that he had scored 30 or more points against the Hornets, which tied Jordan in a separate record for the most 30-point games by a Hornets opponent. He finished with 41 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists for the game.

The last time James didn't score at least 10 points in a game was Jan. 5, 2007, when he scored eight points on 3-for-13 shooting in a Cavs win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Jordan's streak lasted from March 1986 until December 2001.

"I've stayed available, obviously," James said when asked how the streak was possible. "I haven't played every game, but for the most part, I've played over 70 percent of my games throughout that journey, and just going out and just trying to be productive.

"I can't even tell you how I've been able to do it. It's not like I go into every game saying, 'OK, I've got to get 10 points.' It's just kind of organic. It happens, and anytime I'm mentioned with some of the greats, and arguably the greatest basketball player of all time in Mike, it's just another feat for me to be appreciative and humbled by what I've been able to do. And just knowing where I come from and knowing, I look at it and say, 'Wow, I can't believe I'm in this position,' knowing where I come from."

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is third on the double-digit-streak list (787 games). Among active players, James Harden is second behind James (257) and DeMarcus Cousins is third (162), according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

James came into Wednesday's game ranked No. 7 on the all-time scoring list with 30,814 points, needing 1,479 points to pass Jordan at No. 4 (32,292).

However, James already had passed Jordan as the league's all-time leading playoff scorer last spring.

"I wear the number because of Mike," James said of the No. 23 on his uniform when he set the playoff scoring mark. "I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike, just because of what he was able to accomplish. When you're watching Michael Jordan, it's almost like a god. So I didn't think I could be Mike."

James has scored 10 or more points in 99.3 percent of his career games, the highest percentage in NBA history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau research.

"Well, I tell you, LeBron has been healthy, and he continues to be healthy," Cavs acting coach Larry Drew said before the game when asked about James' impending record. "That's a phenomenal feat to accomplish. There are going to be more records down the road he'll be breaking if he continues at this pace, if he continues to stay healthy and he continues to produce the numbers that he's been producing."

Drew, who also coached Jordan in Washington, was asked to compare the two players.

"Certainly Michael was as good of a finesse player as there was," he said. "You just never seen anything like LeBron with his size, his speed, his power. He's something different. But the one thing that both guys do have in common, they both are driven. They're really driven to win and to be the best."

James, 33, told The Associated Press this week that he believes he has as strong of a case for MVP this season as anyone else in the league. After Wednesday's game, he elaborated on what the award would mean to him in his 15th season.

"Listen, to win an MVP, it's not like it solidifies [anything]," James said. "I am who I am. I've made my mark in this league, but I want to continue to press the envelope. Awards don't always account for that, but any time you're able to accomplish anything in this league, even if it's an award, or a monthly award, or a weekly award, it just gives you an opportunity to just appreciate the opportunity that you're in and just try to continue to work for it."

Drew also touted James' case to win a fifth career MVP this season, which would tie him with Jordan for the second most all time. (Abdul-Jabbar won it six times.)

"You can say what you want about LeBron, whether it be positive or whether it be a negative, but what he has done is just -- it's amazing," Drew said. "At his age, him being able to play every game, him being able to sustain and him able to play with the consistency he has played with, game after game after game, speaks volumes. To me, he certainly deserves that MVP. I mean, he's just been phenomenal every game. At his age, he's been just consistent every time he has stepped on the floor. And to me, that speaks volumes."

The Charlotte crowd, at least some of it, apparently agreed with Drew, as James left the court to a loud "MVP! MVP!" chant when he checked out of the game in the final minutes with the win in hand.

"It's pretty incredible. It's pretty incredible," James said of the recognition. "When you done with the game, those are the moments right there where you wish you had it back, and obviously you'll never be able to get it back, but you never take that for granted, especially being on the road."

James' teammate Smith evoked another MJ to describe the scene at the end of the game.

"Everywhere we go, he gets a standing ovation," Smith said. "It's like watching Michael Jackson on tour. It's pretty dope."