MIAMI (CBSMiami) – At this point, writers are running out of superlatives to describe just how well LeBron James plays the game of basketball. Monday night he once again reminded everyone that he is the greatest player on the planet and that any talk of the Most Valuable Player award goes through him.
When the game tipped off between the Miami Heat and Charlotte Bobcats, no one expected they’d be watching history. But by halftime, something about the way LeBron was playing made it feel like everyone in the AmericanAirlines Arena was about to see something special.
For James, he said the basketball felt as small as a golf ball and the basket looked as wide open as the ocean. By the time LeBron came out of the game in the fourth quarter, he had rewritten the record book for his career, the Miami Heat, and made sure everyone knew he was still the NBA’s MVP.
James finished the game with 61 points topping his personal best of 56 points from his days in Cleveland. LeBron was 22-33 (67%) including 8-10 from behind the three-point line, and had 7 rebounds and 5 assists to go with his prolific scoring.
“The man above has given me some unbelievable abilities to play the game of basketball,” James said before the Heat flew to Houston for a game there Tuesday. “I just try to take advantage of it every night. I got the trust of my teammates and my coaching staff to go in there and let it go.”
Probably the most amazing feat was James had just 24 points at halftime before exploding in the third quarter for a team record 25 points in the quarter. James even spotted up for a 30 foot three-pointer late in the third quarter that head coach Erik Spoelstra joked was a “designed play.”
“Once he sniffed 60, we knew he was going for it,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. “And the amazing part is the efficiency. Good Lord. Sixty-one on 33 shots, that’s Wilt Chamberlain-esque. That’s pretty amazing. Incredible performance.”
When LeBron checked out of the game, the crowd rained down an MVP chant just like LeBron was raining down points against Charlotte. Many had said the MVP trophy was destined for Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, but LeBron’s performance Monday night stopped the momentum in its track.
“Every night I go on the floor I want to be the MVP, of this league, MVP of this team, MVP for me, myself and my family,” James said. “I’ve set a high standard and I have to live by that.”
When thinking about the MVP award consider that since the All-Star break, LeBron is averaging 37.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals per game while also shooting 67.9 percent from the field and 51.9 percent from behind the three-point line.
Still, neither LeBron nor Kevin Durant has the MVP award locked up. With another month to go in the regular season, the NBA’s fan base looks like it will be treated to an epic back-and-forth between the two greatest players in the game of basketball.
But for Monday night, the king sat on his throne in Miami and reminded everyone that not only will the MVP award go through him, but that the NBA championship still has to go through Miami.
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