Did you see it? Did you see just how fantastic LeBron James was last night?
If you didn’t, you missed the best regular season performance of this season and maybe the last few. Our man Matt Moore (writing for CBSSports) did the research on just how amazing he was.
James took 25 shots and only missed eight of them. He only missed three free throws. 3-5 from the arc, and he nailed more jumpers than he missed. That’s a remarkable barrage, topped only by the fact that he also dropped in 11 rebounds, and eight assists which netted 19 points (three 3-point assists and five 2-point assists). So of the Heat’s 104 points, James himself created 70 points, or over 67% of the team’s total offense. The very definition of high-usage, while also facilitating and getting his teammates involved. It was the most complete game we’ve seen, and it came in a huge win over a division rival….
James’ performance was among his all-time greatest performances. It was his highest rebound total in a 50-plus-point game and the second highest in rebounds plus assists in a 50-plus-point game. Historically, it was only the fourth 50-plus-point, 11-plus rebound, 8-plus-assist game in history, with Jordan, Bryant, and Wade owners of the other three. It’s the second highest field goal percentage in such an effort, behind Jordan’s 20 of 28 performance in ’89. And with Wade and Bryant’s both coming in a triple-overtime and double-overtime game respectively, Jordan and James are the only two players in history to complete a 50-11-8 game in regulation. What’s more? This was the slowest-paced game of those historic efforts, with an estimated 88 possessions, while Bryant’s was at 90. This wasn’t just a herculean effort, it was the very model of modern efficiency.
Here, watch the video of his 23 first quarter points.
Notice that only six of those points came in the paint (two of those on an offensive rebound he worked hard for). Most of the shots were well-contested jumpers. This wasn’t given to him like he was playing the Raptors zone, he earned this.
Just a reminder that James is still the best player on the planet.
Dwyane Wade is secure in his legacy. He’s an all-time great, and an extra missed 3-pointer during his farewell tour won’t change anything. (It doesn’t hurt that his resumé already includes subpar 3-point shooting.)
So, when many players would hold the ball, Wade heaved in a halfcourt shot to end the third quarter of the Heat’s 110-105 win over the Spurs on Wednesday. It wasn’t the biggest shot of Wade’s season, but it still mattered plenty.
Miami’s lead when San Antonio began intentionally fouling late? Three.
The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and a five-point lead in the final 30 seconds of overtime. James Harden scored 57 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and all 10 of the Rockets points in overtime.
But Jonas Valanciunas saved Memphis from total collapse. He drew a foul on his putback and hit the game-winning free-throw with 0.1 seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 126-125 win Wednesday.
Jimmer Fredette remains a fascination because he scored a ton at BYU eight years ago and… other reasons.
He has been lighting it up in China, and his season there just ended. Now, the former No. 10 pick could return to the NBA after three years away.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.
Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.
But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.
The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.
It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.
Marcus Smart recently bemoaned the lack of physicality in the NBA.
After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.
Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.
Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.