CLEVELAND -- As his minutes increased and his shots continued to fall, LeBron James didn't have to plead too hard with coach Tyronn Lue to remain in the game Saturday night. With so many others dragging around heavy legs, James looked spry on a night with another milestone.

James scored a season-high 44 points and became the first frontcourt player to pass for 7,000 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers recorded a 116-105 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

The milestone pass was vintage James, a skip pass down the lane to a streaking Tristan Thompson that few other players could even see, let alone complete. It was his highest scoring regular-season effort since returning to Cleveland and matched the 44 points he scored in a Game 1 overtime loss against the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the Finals in 2015.

It was quite a weekend for James, who scored 71 points in 80 minutes, moved into ninth place on the all-time scoring list and eclipsed 7,000 assists in two home wins against the Miami Heat and Hornets.

"The last couple years this is the best I've felt. And I told you guys I've put a lot of work into my body, into my craft," James said. "I've re-arranged a little bit with my diet and things of that nature and it's worked to my benefit. And for me to have back-to-back nights like this after coming off a long road trip, just shows that everything is working in the right direction."

Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Cody Zeller had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Hornets, who had their three-game winning streak snapped. This was the first stop in a five-game road trip for Charlotte.

Walker suffered a left knee contusion after colliding with James and is considered day-to-day, although Walker said he expects to play Monday at Indiana.

"It's not bad at all," Walker said. "At the moment it looked pretty bad, but I'm good. I was coming off a ball screen and he ran into me."

The Hornets fell behind by double figures in the first quarter and played from behind the rest of the night. Every time the Hornets rallied, James was there to swat them away. His consecutive 3-pointers late in the third quarter, after the Hornets pulled within 75-72, kept the Cavaliers in control the rest of the night.

"Listen, he passed, he rebounded, he made 3s, he was great going to the basket," Hornets coach Steve Clifton said of James. "He was phenomenal. He made three or four 3s that he's going to make. You can't block them. You can't contest them. When he's shooting the ball like that, there's nothing you can do, other than blitz, and that's what he wants you to do, and then he really makes you look bad."

Kevin Love scored 22 points and Thompson had 13 points and 12 rebounds on a night the Cavs shot a season-best 58 percent from the floor to win their fourth straight. The Cavaliers' two best shooting nights of the season both came this weekend. The 55 percent they shot Friday against the Heat lasted just 24 hours.

Cleveland's third star, Kyrie Irving, struggled through one of his toughest nights. Irving told Lue at the start of the night he didn't have any legs and he finished with 11 points, ending his streak of 12 consecutive games with at least 20 points. That was the longest streak of Irving's career and the longest active streak in the NBA.

This was James' first 40-point game during the regular season since Feb. 26, 2015 when he scored 42 in a home win against the Warriors, although he also did it in consecutive victories during last season's NBA Finals against the Warriors.

"I didn't want to play Bron this many minutes," Lue said. "But he came to me and said, 'Man, coach, I'm fine. Kyrie doesn't have it tonight. I'm fine.' I was like, 'No.' He was like, 'Man, I'm telling you. I'm fine.' And then he started raining 3s. They made a comeback but he was scoring the basketball, playing with great pace, getting downhill and we had to ride him tonight."

NOTES: Cleveland Coach Tyronn Lue believes SF LeBron James, PG Kyrie Irving and PF Kevin Love should all be All-Stars this season. Love hasn't made an All-Star team since joining the Cavs. "We should have three this year," Lue said. "The way these guys are playing and being No. 1 in the East right now, usually when that happens and you're winning, guys are rewarded." ... James was averaging a career-high four turnovers per game, but Lue said it's primarily because of how much he has played with the ball in his hands this season. "It doesn't concern me," Lue said. ... The Hornets possess a better winning percentage on the road (6-4) than at home (8-6). "We've had more intensity on the road," Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. ... Saturday marked the first stop on a five-game road trip for the Hornets, who play Monday at Indiana.