They say that you should never say never, but I can almost guarantee that no one in the AmericanAirlines Arena ever thought that LeBron James would be making history against the team owned by one of his biggest cheap shot critics (Michael Jordan). Particularly on a night where Dwyane Wade missed his 16th game, the Miami Heat started down by nine and the world was looking forward to Tuesday night’s game against Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets.
But you give the man a broken nose and a bag full of superhero masks, and he can’t be stopped. As a matter of fact, just give him a psychic’s hat and a crystal ball, and James could have told you exactly what ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh reported almost four months ago:
“I had [almost] 40 now with 18 shots, I mean … If you give me 37 shots in a game, I’d put up 60,” James explained when speaking on Rudy Gay‘s 11-for-37 field goal game. “Easy.”
Reporters laughed back in November, then praised him when he managed to get 33 shots and one-upped his prediction at the start of March. Interestingly enough, James made it look just as easy as Carmelo Anthony’s 23-of-35 shooting for 62 points — both against the league’s No. 6 defense of the Charlotte Bobcats.
That’s something that critics thought James could never do. His shot wasn’t pure enough (so he shot 67 percent). He would be too busy trying to get his teammates involved (so he had five assists). And he couldn’t go right enough to dunk his way to 60 (so he didn’t dunk once).
The critics might have been correct, but they discounted the fact that at all he needed to do was get hot to hit all of the benchmarks.
James’ 25 points in the third quarter topped his previous career-high of 24, while also surpassing the team’s franchise record. His 22 field goals also worked in tandem to crush both marks as the Bobcats sagged off and gave him a cushion. This led to him tying his own personal record of eight 3-pointers on 8-of-10 shooting, including the near 30-foot heat check that finally encouraged Miami fans to chant M-V-P for first time this season.
However, the most telling part was watching Wade urge LeBron on from the bench as his franchise record of 55 dropped, followed by Glen Rice’s 19-year mark of 56. It was like the official stamp on D-Wade’s passing of the torch — and hopefully too much love and fanfare to be overlooked by James this summer.
But first things first, somebody needs to tell Kevin Durant that the MVP race isn’t quite over yet.