Around this time last year the Miami Heat began their incredible 27-game winning streak, and it seems that it’s about time for them to hit that kind of form again. LeBron James seems to be in that kind of mindset with another huge game, but more importantly a buzzer beating 3-point shot to beat the Golden State Warriors on the road.
James finished with 36 points and yet again was just short of a triple double, adding 13 rebounds and 9 assists. He has scored 30 points or more in five of the last seven games, and was quite close to a triple double in four of them. It’s safe to say he’s coasting days, for this season at least, are over.
It wasn’t just a LeBron James show, hitting big shots in the fourth quarter, one over Klay Thompson from 3 and the winner with Andre Iguodala making it quite difficult for James as he rose for the shots. Stephen Curry had plenty of big moments himself, scoring 29 points with a perfect night from beyond the arc, including the and-1 layup that gave the Warriors a 110-108 lead before the final possession. In one of the best games we’ve seen this season in the NBA, it was enough only to see Miami come away with the 111-110 win.
I was going for the win the whole time. Better offense beats better defense every time.
This was the kind of performance that makes you think the Heat still have a thing or two to say in the Eastern race, and that LeBron James isn’t out of the MVP race either. His 36-13-9 stat line is quite rare for a player on a road game, with only four other players pulling that one off away from home over the last 25 years. He was 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, and continued to dominate when he’s close to the basket, hitting 64% from 10 feet or less to score 18 points. He has a league best 74% when shooting from close range.
And for those obsessed with LeBron James and his clutch ability, that was his first regular season go-ahead 3-pointer in the final 10 seconds of the 4th quarter/overtime in his entire career, going 0-for-7 previously.
But there was more than just James in this game. Chris Bosh scored 19 points on another very efficient scoring night from him, hitting 8-of-14 from the field. Michael Beasley gave the kind of performance off the bench, scoring 14 points, that made the Heat quite happy about signing him and what he can become for them in the playoffs. Both Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers did a good job offensively, combining for 22 points, although they slightly struggled guarding Curry this time.
And then there was the other side. Curry had his 29 points and 7 assists with another impressive night of showing just how vast his offensive repertoire is, including 13 points on pull-up jumpers, something he does better than anyone in the NBA. David Lee had himself a 21-11 double double, Klay Thompson scored 17 points and Harrison Barnes, with some suggesting him being on the trading block, scored 14 points off the bench. But it was hard to say they were too happy with how it ended.
That was like the ultimate buzz kill. We witnessed greatness. A special player, an all-time great, made a big-time shot.
For the Heat, it’s going to be like this for more than just one night unless Dwyane Wade’s situation improves quickly. There is the All-Star weekend giving him and others a bit of a break, but he has now missed 14 games this season, with reports suggesting his foot condition might be a bit more serious than what was initially expected. If that is the case, just how great LeBron James really is at this point in his career will be tested by trying to carry the Heat with a lot less than 100% Wade at his side.