There may never have been an NBA player with more physical gifts than LeBron James. He is the size of Karl Malone, he is strong, but he has the quickness of an elite point guard. He has touch and he has that innate court vision and sense of the game that only some of the elite guards in the game have seemed to possess.
So, it really shouldn’t be a shock he was the youngest NBA player to 20,000 points with the shot above. He passes Kobe Bryant, who got point 20K at 29 years, 122 days old. LeBron did it at 28 years, 17 days.
LeBron also had the advantage of being on teams for years in Cleveland that needed him to score big to have a chance. (Advantage when trying to rack up points, not advantage if you wanted to win titles.) He obliged and put up some huge scoring numbers. It took a move out of his home town and some hard knocks for his mistakes for him to mature enough to lead a team to the title. That and better talent around him.
If you think this record will stand forever, I’d like you to meet Kevin Durant, who has more than 11,000 points at age 24.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue on Warriors-Thunder Game 7: ‘We just want the winner’
The Thunder would be no pushovers, but Cleveland would have a better chance of winning. Even with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City just hasn’t played as well as Golden State over a long stretch.
This is obviously a discussion only for fun. The Cavs have no say in their Finals opponent. The Warriors and Thunder will decide that tonight.
Report: Lakers ‘aren’t that high’ on DeMar DeRozan
No, Golden State wasn’t at full strength. But Oklahoma City reached a level the Warriors hadn’t all season. Even if Golden State had hit peak performance, I’m not sure that would’ve been enough. The Thunder were that good.
Oklahoma City was awesome, handing the Warriors 28- and 24-point losses.
But Golden State rallied to force a Game 7 tonight. If the Warriors win, they’ll become just the eighth team in NBA history to lose multiple games by more than 20 in a series and still win it. The seven to do it:
Houston Rockets lost to Los Angeles Clippers by 25 and 33 in 2015 second round
Atlanta Hawks lost to Miami Heat by 29 and 26 in 2009 first round
Houston Rockets lost to Phoenix Suns by 22 and 24 in 1995 second round
Philadelphia 76ers lost to Boston Celtics by 40 and 29 in 1982 Eastern Conference finals
Denver Nuggets lost to Milwaukee Bucks by 31 and 28 in 1978 Western Conference semifinals
Los Angeles Lakers lost to Milwaukee Bucks by 21 and 26 in 1972 Western Conference finals
Minneapolis Lakers lost to St. Louis Hawks by 34 and 30 in 1959 Western Division finals
This is probably the right course. I don’t know whom the Raptors could get if they lets DeRozan walk, but if he signs elsewhere, they would have just about $19 million in cap space – less than a max salary. I doubt they could land a better replacement.
I’m not sold on DeRozan as a playoff player, though he legitimately took the next step this regular season. But I’d rather keep him, hope he learns to handle the challenges of the postseason and possibly use him in a trade down the road. It’ll cost a max salary if DeRozan isn’t willing to take a discount, but that beats the alternative of losing him for nothing but cap space.