Perfect nights for high volume shooters are rare, almost impossible. LeBron James didn’t make all of shots in another Miami Heat win, missing just one, on the best shooting night of his career.
It wasn’t the easiest of wins – The Heat beat the Bobcats 99-95, looking a bit tired and slow for much of the game: They eventually stayed to watch the Super Bowl in Toronto, arriving in Miami after 3 a.m., which probably explains why they looked slowed and less focused than in their win against the Raptors a night before.
But this game was all about LeBron James and the special numbers. He scored 31 points, making it back-to-back 30 points games on consecutive days, adding 8 rebounds and 8 assists. That was his 31st career game of at least 31-8-8; not as much as Michael Jordan has had during his career, but he’s getting there. It’s the first time this season he’s had 30 points on back-to-back days. This was LeBron’s 7th game played in the second of a back-to-back this season. The last time he had at least 30 points on back-to-back days was April 3 and 4th last season.
The more impressive feat on James’ night was his shooting: He made 13 of his 14 field goal attempts, the best shooting night of his career with that among of shots and tied for the league’s third-best shooting performance with at least that many attempts in the last 18 years. Shaquille O’Neal was 15 for 16 for the Heat against Seattle on Feb. 25, 2006, and Dwight Howard was 14 for 15 for Orlando against Philadelphia on April 14, 2007.
I didn’t plan it that way, I was just attacking when I could, got into the paint and was able to make some shots. James made nine shots from 2 feet or closer, as the Heat shot 50.6% from the field (only 1-12 from beyond the arc) and scored 66 points in the paint against one of the worst defensive units in the NBA. James’ only miss was a four foot jumper in the third quarter. James said he was fouled on the play.
It was another impressive big three night: James with 31, Chris Bosh adding 23 points (11-18 from the field) and Dwyane Wade scoring 20, while also grabbing 12 rebounds. I got a lot of my own misses, too. I was missing a lot of chippies, but I was just trying to be aggressive. When your shots aren’t falling you have to find some way to affect the basketball game and give your team a chance to win.
For the Heat, it was as soft as touchdown in Miami after flying in from Toronto can be. Getting the Bobcats, the worst team in the NBA, helps you through game in which you’re far from your best. The Heat have won nine of their last 10 at home, and 19 of 22 this season. The schedule becomes a bit tougher in their home stand looking towards the end of this week and the next, with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers coming to play in South Beach.
James is once again taking his offensive game to another level, as the Heat try to distribute the effort in a way that won’t hurt their race in the East too much. We’re just so used to seeing him play like this and post these kind of numbers, so no one is really losing perspective over another night of brilliance from the best player in the NBA.