THE FACTS: LeBron James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 20,000 points, and his Miami Heat cruised to a 92-75 victory against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
James finished with 25 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds before being shut down early to conserve energy as the Heat wrap up their six-game, nine-day road trip Thursday in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
Dwyane Wade had 15 points, eight boards, six assists and five steals for Miami, which looked vastly improved compared to the performances in disappointing losses in Indiana, Portland and Utah on this trip.
The Warriors, making do without Stephen Curry after the point guard sprained an ankle during Golden State's shootaround Wednesday morning, looked discombobulated for much of the night. The point output was a season-low for Golden State, which has lost four of its last five games.
QUOTABLE: "It means everything. It means a lot. ... I try to give everything to the game, and hopefully it continues to give back to me."
-- LeBron James
THE STAT: With 2:45 left in the second quarter, James slid into the paint, slipping away from David Lee and pulling up for a hanging 12-foot jumper. When it swished through the net, James (28 years, 17 days) had surpassed Kobe Bryant, who was 29 years, 122 days old when he reached the 20,000-point plateau.
TURNING POINT: The Warriors' chance of pulling off a season sweep of the Heat -- Golden State won 97-95 in Miami on Dec. 12 -- cratered when Curry went down for the first time this season. A Warriors spokesman said the injury occurred when Curry stepped on the foot of teammate Festus Ezeli. Without Curry, who ranks eighth in the league in scoring (at 20.5 points per game) and 12th in assists (6.6), Golden State was susceptible to Miami's withering defensive pressure. Discomforted by the Heat's double teams on any pick-and-roll action, the Warriors committed 21 turnovers in the first half, Miami outscored Golden State 16-0 in terms of points off of turnovers.
QUOTABLE II: "The look in our guys' eyes and the activity and the commitment on [the defensive] side of the floor, that's something that we've really been trying to push. And we haven't quite gotten to that consistently yet on the road, so that was a good response."
-- Miami coach Erik Spoelstra
INSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM: Spoelstra said the Heat presented James with the game ball immediately after the contest, then "Everybody took a shot at him -- a punch, a jab, an elbow, whatever they could get in before he started hitting back."
QUOTABLE III: "It's a testament to him, how hard he works and how durable he's been. To be the youngest to do it -- it's a great feat and we're just happy to be a part of it."
-- Dwyane Wade
HOT: Mario Chalmers exploded after a relatively quiet first half, dropping three 3-pointers in Miami's 13-0 blitz to open the third quarter. That run nearly doubled the Heat's lead, from 14 to 27 points, and ended any suspense for ESPN's East Coast audience.
NOT: Klay Thompson, Curry's running-mate in the Warriors backcourt, finished 1-for-8 from the floor with his two points being more than offset by four turnovers. The poor shooting night continued a recent downward trend for Thompson, who had been slowly improving after a sub-40 percent October and November. Thompson is now at 39.9 percent for the season.
ROOKIE WATCH: Warriors forward Draymond Green continued the battle he joined with James in the Warriors' earlier win -- a victory Green sealed with a backdoor cut and layup with 0.9 seconds remaining. This time, James prevailed handily, even eliciting a technical on Green, who played through the garbage-time fourth quarter to finish with nine points, seven rebounds and four turnovers.
INSIDE THE ARENA: San Francisco 49ers players NaVorro Bowman, Dashon Goldson, Aldon Smith and Donte Whitner -- taking a break from their preparations for the NFC Championship Game against Atlanta on Sunday -- received a nice hand after being shown on the big screen during the second quarter
NOTABLE: James also surpassed the 5,000-assist barrier, feeding Wade for a dunk at the 6:42 mark of the first quarter. ... Regarding Curry's injury, Warriors coach Mark Jackson seemed optimistic that this wouldn't be a repeat of last season, when the point guard missed 46 of 66 games with right ankle problems. "I'm not a doctor, but I can't imagine it turning into something more [serious]," Jackson said. "We're not concerned." A team spokesman said Curry's "return will be based on his rehab." ... Miami forward Shane Battier returned after a three-game absence due to a strained hamstring. He seemed rusty, going 0-for-3 from the floor -- all of them 3-point attempts -- and finishing up scoreless. ... On a night full of milestones, Miami forward Udonis Haslem provided arguably the game's two best highlights, delivering a vicious putback jam in the first half, then slapping a loose rebound off the glass and in during the second half.
UP NEXT: For the Heat, Thursday @ Lakers, Wednesday vs. Toronto, Jan. 25 vs. Detroit. For the Warriors, Friday @ San Antonio, Saturday @ New Orleans, Monday vs. Clippers.