MIAMI (AP) - Best player. Best game of his career.
LeBron James clearly isn’t ready to concede his MVP award to anyone yet.
Dazzling from inside and out, James put on the best scoring show of his NBA life Monday night, pouring in 61 points - a career high and franchise record - as the Miami Heat beat the Charlotte Bobcats 124-107. It was the eighth straight win for the two-time defending champions, who are starting to roll as the playoffs get near.
James made 22 of 33 shots from the field, including his first eight 3-point attempts.
“The man above has given me some unbelievable abilities to play the game of basketball,” James said. “I just try to take advantage of it every night. I got the trust of my teammates and my coaching staff to go in there and let it go.”
His career best had been 56 points, on March 20, 2005, for Cleveland against Toronto. Glen Rice scored 56 to set the Heat record on April 15, 1995, against Orlando.
Good thing he thought better of that plan.
“He was in a great groove, obviously,” Spoelstra said.
Al Jefferson had 38 points and 19 rebounds for the Bobcats, his huge night merely an afterthought.
This was all about LeBron.
“You take away his 61 points,” Jefferson said, “and we still had a fighting chance there at the end.”
Yes, even the Bobcats were marveling at James. He was hitting from everywhere, even a pull-up 3-pointer from about 30 feet - Spoelstra joked it was from 40 - late in the third quarter, as the crowd roared and the Heat bench jumped with joy.