As if LeBron James hasn’t been on enough of a tear recently, the reigning MVP unloaded 61 points last night against the Charlotte Bobcats, which is one point shy of the season high mark set by Carmelo Anthony just one month ago. James set numerous Heat franchise records in the process of his 61-point outing, plus shot a ridiculous 22-33 from the field; that is a 66 percent shooting clip. There are only two players in the history of the league that have achieved that high of a points total while shooting that high of a percentage, and that’s Shaquille O’Neal in 2000, and Wilt Chamberlin in 1961.
The race towards this season’s MVP may seem tighter than ever, but after last night’s performance, James is without a doubt leading the race against Kevin Durant. Not only do the Miami Heat have a better overall record than the Oklahoma City Thunder (leading by a half game), but also both James and Durant are neck in neck in terms of overall season averages. Durant might have the upper hand in points per game (currently at 31.6), but with Russell Westbrook retuning to the fold, Durant’s averages will hit a slight decline.
Durant hit his peak too soon this season, and because of this, James has begun showing signs of life in his determination to claim his fifth MVP. During his last five games, James has averaged 36.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.0 steals on a blistering 67.4 percent shooting from the field. That is absurd. Do you want to know Durant’s recent averages? 32.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.4 steals on just 47 percent shooting from the field.
Outside of Durant dishing the ball more, James has blown Durant away in every other statistic recently. The biggest gap is without a doubt the shooting efficiency. How James is shooting the ball right now is on another level, one that even Durant might not be able to get to. As Durant is beginning to fall back down to earth, James is ascending to another planet. The reigning MVP is beginning to get his grip around the Maurice Podoloff trophy, and the last 25 games of the season will help him snatch it away.