LeBron James hasn’t had a bad game yet this season, short as it has been. More than that, he hasn’t had a decent one as well. His worst game was a 16 point, nine rebounds and 5 assists night as the Heat beat the Bobcats 129-90 and James played only 28 minutes.
Last night against the Pacers, with Dwyane Wade out due to his injured leg, there was no way James was going to sit. He played with a sprained ankle for a while, but still clocked in 38 minutes. The numbers? LeBron finished with 33 points, 8 rebounds and 13 assists. Did anyone say, early season MVP? It’s been thrown around. His averages so far? 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.9 assists, while shooting 59.2% from the field. And he hasn’t even hit any three pointers yet. He has only thrown up one from downtown this season!
The game against the Indiana Pacers on Wedensday night wasn’t one of those in which LeBron HAD to play all night. A 33-12 run in the second quarter ended it for the Indiana Pacers, who were frustrated with the excellent Heat defense and turned to throwing prayers and contested jump shots. They finished with an abysmal 34.8% from the field, losing for the second time this season.
The Heat? Looked very well, despite the absence of Wade, rebounding from their first loss of the season against the Atlanta Hawks. Chris Bosh finished with 22 points, while James Jones did a very good job filling in for Dwyane Wade, combining with Mario Chalmers for 28 points.
As we said, as with every win for the Heat, their defense paved the way. They created 23 turnovers and 28 points off those turnovers. Danny Granger was limited to only 12 points, shooting 2-13 from the field.
But they still might be missing LeBron James when they head to Atlanta, the first of a long road trip, to face the Atlanta Hawks. They can handle one of the big three missing, especially when James is still in the game. Not only is he the best offensive player on the team, but he’s the glue and heart of this defense. He’s averaging 2.8 steals and 1.5 blocks so far this season. The Miami defense without him just isn’t the same, with or without Wade.
It seems LeBron James is on a mission to put last season, or it’s ending, behind him. He’s been on fire since this season began. Aggressive, effective, accurate, focused, maybe like never before. Having Bosh and Wade with him just makes it easier. But Miami can’t afford to lose him to a serious injury by aggravating something minor that might suggest he should rest a game or two.