LeBron James scored 35 points to lead the two-time defending champion Miami Heat to a 104-95 victory over the Toronto Raptors in early-season action in the NBA, achieving a rare scoring milestone in the process.
The superstar forward, who also hauled down eight rebounds and dished out eight assists, became just the fifth player in NBA history to score 10 or more points in 500 consecutive games when he slammed home a put-back dunk late in the first quarter.
James' contributions Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre were crucial to leading Miami (3-2) to its first away victory of the season in three tries.
Shooting guard Dwyane Wade added 20 points and sixth man Ray Allen scored 14.
James, who joined Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (streaks of 787 and 508 games), Michael Jordan (866), Karl Malone (575) and Moses Malone (526) as the only NBA players to score in double figures for 500 straight games, said that "to be in such a great class like that, it's an amazing feeling."
The 28-year-old four-time league MVP's streak dates back to Jan. 6, 2007, when he was still a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Guard DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points in a losing effort for the Raptors, who also got 18 points and nine rebounds from Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas and 13 points apiece from forward Rudy Gay and guard Kyle Lowry.
The Raptors trailed by just four points with 12 minutes to play, but a 12-0 run by the Heat at the start of the fourth quarter put the game out of reach. EFE