CLEVELAND – LeBron James crashed into the crowd and injured the wife of golf star Jason Day during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 104-100 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.
Ellie Day was taken from the arena on a backboard. There was no immediate report on her condition.
The 6-foot-8, 240-pound James was scrambling for a loose ball in the fourth quarter when he plowed into her as she sat in a courtside side.
Day is the No. 2-ranked golfer in the world. He won the PGA Championship this year for his first major win on the PGA Tour. On Nov. 11, Ellie gave birth to the couple’s second child, a girl named Lucy.
James scored 33 points and added 11 assists and nine rebounds. Tristan Thompson had 15 rebounds for the Cavs, who improved to 11-1 at home.
Russell Westbrook scored 27 and Kevin Durant 25 for the Thunder, who had won six in a row. Oklahoma City was down 98-89 with three minutes left and closed within 103-100, but both Durant and Westbrook missed 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds.
The frantic final three minutes were overshadowed by James’ collision with Day, who was unable get out of the way when he came tumbling into her chair. James came over to check on her condition during a stoppage in play, reaching out his hand to touch hers as medical personnel attended to her near Cleveland’s bench.
Day, who lives in Columbus, accompanied his wife as she was carried from the floor.
The Cavaliers were missing guards Mo Williams (thumb), Iman Shumpert (groin) and Kyrie Irving, who could make his season debut Sunday against Philadelphia.
Thompson added 12 points and his energy kept the Cavs close in the third quarter. Richard Jefferson added 13 points off the bench for Cleveland, now 31-2 in regular season games at home since Jan. 15.
With the Cavs down 78-74 to start the fourth, Kevin Love made two critical plays to swing the momentum for Cleveland.
First, he pump faked Nick Collison in the air to draw contact and dropped a 3-pointer while being fouled. After knocking down his free throw, Love grabbed a rebound on the defensive end and heaved a look outlet pass to a waiting James, who was bumped before dropping in his layup to put the Cavs up 80-78.
As James went to the line, Love walked over following his deep completion and slapped hands with Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, who was sitting courtside.
Thompson was Cleveland’s best offensive weapon in the third, grabbing boards and scoring inside _ once off a behind-the-back pass from James to help the Cavs chip away at Oklahoma City’s 10-point lead.
Durant scored 14 points in the first quarter, but it was Westbrook’s basket that ended an 8-0 run to put the Thunder up by 12 early in the second quarter.
The Cavs, though, responded by ripping off 14 straight points in a three-minute stretch.
Westbrook seemed to ignore Dellavedova, who knocked down two 3-pointers as Cleveland went on an 18-0 run to take a 46-40 lead. Ibaka’s free throw ended Oklahoma City’s 5-minute dry spell and the Thunder closed the half with a 7-0 spurt to lead at the break.
Thunder: Oklahoma City is 6-7 against the East and 11-2 versus the West.G. Anthony Morrow was not with the team because of a personal matter. Former Cavs G Dion Waiters was booed when he entered the game in the first quarter. Waiters was traded by Cleveland last season. He finished with 4 points.
Cavaliers: The Cavs observed a moment of remembrance before the game for centre John “Hot Rod” Williams, who died last week at 53. Williams was a member of those talented Cleveland teams, which included Mark Price, Brad Daugherty and always lost to the Michael-Jordan led Bulls in the playoffs in the 1980s-90s.