The normal state of things in the East, in the NBA, for the Miami Heat – LeBron James putting on a show that is special on the eyes and on the stat sheet, while his team rebounds effortlessly from their nearly-record breaking winning streak being cruelly shattered.
Nothing’s changed. The Heat are still the best in the East, still the best in the NBA. LeBron James scored 36 points in one of his more scoring-driven nights in quite some time (“only” 6 assists), going 13-20 from the field. It’s not that he didn’t get any help, but it seemed that everyone was firing well for Miami, making 60.9% of their field goal attempts en route to a 108-89 win over the New Orleans Hornets.
The first rule after falling down? Coming and climbing back up, stronger than ever. That seemed to be the mindset of the Heat who opened with a strong first quarter on both ends of the floor, and never let go until the final moments of the game. James himself looked like a man on a mission, outscoring the Hornets by himself (23-12) from 1:55 remaining in the first quarter until 8:26 to go in the second quarter. During that time, James made eight straight shots, including six from three, and his only miss was a free throw.
As for the Heat in general, it was their finest offensive night in 16 season, posting an effective field goal percentage of 71%. And James didn’t do so well because he stuck to easy shots. He simply couldn’t miss, despite averaging 19.2 feet from the basket on his field goal attempts. Nothing got in his way as the Heat also forced 19 turnovers off the Hornets, playing without Greivis Vasquez.
Maybe it was James firing himself up after the loss to the Chicago Bulls, complaining about the fouls that weren’t called and the over-physical play. The New Orleans fans greeted him with boos, but were silenced pretty quickly.
To hear boos during the name announcements and then to turn the crowd around and make it almost like a home game is really humbling. It’s unbelievable to be part of something like that.
After James made his fifth three pointer (made 7 of 10), he raised his arm to the Hornets fans, getting a different, more mixed reaction of boos seasons with applause. When you play great basketball, it’s impossible to let ignorant hate keep guiding you.