Maybe one day LeBron James will stop playing with that headband, and the Miami Heat will be unbeatable. It happened again in the 117-94 win over the Utah Jazz, as things went quite tough before he made the appearance change, somehow beginning to cruise on the road to a very easy victory while being as efficient and accurate as possible despite playing on one bad ankle.
LeBron James put on an almost perfect show, from the stat sheet to the dunks and his overall display. He finished with 30 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists, hitting 76.4% of his field goal attempts while the team had a franchise-record day with 63.4% from the field, as each of the big three hit better than 60% of their field goal attempts and had a season-best 77 points combined, their third game of over 70 points together in the last four days. The Heat shot 68% from the field in the second half.
Chris Bosh scored 20 points and added 6 rebounds while Dwyane Wade scored 27 points in a game that became very easy in the third quarter. Not because of the headband (although we’ll never know), but probably because the Heat started playing at a pace and intensity level the Jazz were never going to match. It’s the 17th consecutive win for the Miami Heat against a Western conference team, a sharp contrast to what we’re seeing going on between the two sides this season. It’s the second longest regular-season streak by an Eastern Conference team in NBA history. Boston won 20 straight over the West during a nine-month span of 1973.
It was the eighth time in James’ career in which he was one rebound and one assist shy of a triple double and a second in a row for him. That is not why he was angry after tweaking his ankle. He sat on the bench with a towel over his head, angry, hitting the bench. He eventually came back in for Dwyane Wade during the fourth quarter to finish the job against the Jazz, but the question is how he’ll feel when he’ll wake up in the morning, and whether or not it’ll cause him to miss some games at some point.
I was excited I could go back out there, make some plays and finish the game off. But I know in the morning, when I wake up, it’s going to be pretty sore.
Unlike previous games, the Miami Heat came focused and energized into the third quarter, something that has been a problem for them recently. They ended up scoring 19 fast break points and 21 off Jazz turnovers, including a total of 60 in the paint, forcing the Jazz to bad shots around the perimeter, with Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke combining to shoot 18.8% from the field. dropping to 6-21 this season.
It’s hard to shake the feeling that the Miami Heat have been semi-cruising so far this season against certain teams and in certain games. With Christmas coming up and 2014 just around the corner, maybe these recent performances by James are a perfect indication of them and him taking things to the next level.