Reporting Tim Kephart
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OAKLAND, Calif. (CBSMiami) – Lost amidst the hubbub in the sports world about the Manti Te’o story Wednesday night was Miami Heat superstar LeBron James setting an NBA record that may be tough to ever top.
LeBron became the youngest player in NBA history to score 20,000 points when he dribbled past Golden State Warrior David Lee and pulled up in the lane from around 12 feet to hit a jump shot in the second quarter of the Heat’s blowout victory.
“The best part about it is I was in a rhythm, too, so it wasn’t one of those forced shots,” James said. “I was able to get the switch on David Lee and get to the elbow and make a shot. It’s pretty cool.”
But the scoring record wasn’t the only landmark James crossed during Wednesday night’s game. LeBron also dished out 10 assists in the game, which helped him surpass 5,000 assists for his career. Fittingly, James broke the 5,000 mark when he hit Wade heading to the basket for a dunk.
James finished with 25 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds in 30 minutes of action.
For James, breaking records in the NBA has almost become second nature to him. He was the youngest player to ever win rookie of the year, record a triple-double, score 1,000 points, score 10,000 points, and win MVP honors at an All-Star game.
Not bad for a player who hasn’t even hit 30-years-old yet.
“It means everything,” James said. “It means a lot. First of all, like I continue to say, it means I’ve been able to be healthy. To be out on the floor and do what I love to do, I love the game of basketball and I try to give everything to the game. And hopefully it continues to give back to me.”
Each record James breaks further cements his status as arguably the greatest player to ever step on an NBA basketball court. James has displayed the scoring prowess and defensive ability of Michael Jordan and the uncanny passing and ability to play all five positions that Magic Johnson used to play with.
The celebration of James’ phenomenal accomplishment and the Heat’s overwhelming victory helped to stem the tide of bad headlines the team had incurred after struggling on the current road trip amid rumors of infighting on the team.
In a 104-97 loss at Utah on Monday, Spoelstra sat Wade and played Chris Bosh for just 40 seconds in the fourth quarter in a decision that had been critiqued and questioned for the past two days by fans and national media. The Heat sliced a 19-point deficit to two without both before falling short.
But Wednesday night, the Heat put together a 26-6 surge filled with alley-oops, dunks, and other highlights to open the third quarter en route to a 78-44 lead. After that, the Big Three watched the rest of the game from the bench with big smiles.
The Heat has no time to enjoy the victory. The team headed down the California coast to Los Angeles where they will play the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)