You know, I was just thinking about how long it’s been since we were treated with the full LeBron James experience.
Not since his dunk over Paul Millsap have we seen LeBron put someone on his highlight reel this convincingly. Nearing the end of the first quarter in the Miami Heat’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks, Ekpe Udoh made one of the greatest mistakes of his NBA career.
With LeBron given an open lane, because only the Bucks would give him an open lane, he took full advantage, driving and lifting off near the dotted-line. Udoh, meanwhile, thought it would be wise to get in the middle of this, despite having been on the other end of a LeBron dunk already.
James went through Udoh like he was an apparition, and threw down arguably his best dunk of the year.
At least his best dunk of the year at the moment, because, a quarter later, he’d top himself with a slam that would have won the past five dunk contests.
Once again, the Milwaukee Bucks, who rank 29th in defensive efficiency, gave LeBron James a wide-open lane. This time around, however, the Bucks knew better, and allowed LeBron to do what he pleased.
No wonder the rest of the league’s fanbases despise Miami’s. Heat fans get the LeBron dunk contest that every fan of the game has been asking for since 2003. #blessed.
Just when you think you got LeBron James figured out, he goes and pulls something like this off: a 61-point outing against the league’s sixth best defense.
Scoring 25 of those 61 in the third quarter, LeBron finished the night shooting 22-for-33 from the field, 8-for-10 from three, including making his first eight, and 9-for-12 from the foul line.
It’s the highest scoring game of his career, breaking the 56-point mark he scored in a loss against Toronto back in 2005, and it’s the highest scoring game in Heat franchise history, snapping the 56-point mark set by Glen Rice nearly two decades ago.
It’s the fourth time since the 1986-87 season a player has recorded at least 61 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists in a single game. The other three were Tracy McGrady (62-10-5), Michael Jordan (69-18-6) and David Robinson (71-14-5).
LeBron, however, needed only 41 minutes to record his 61-7-5. Those other three all played at least 44 minutes, with Jordan playing 50 minutes in a game that went into overtime.
LeBron also made only nine free throws and attempted only 12. Jordan, Robinson and McGrady by comparison all took at least 23 free throw attempts.
Also, none of them shot better than 64 percent. LeBron was at 67 percent against the Bobcats. He became one of only four players in NBA history to score at least 60 points on at least 30 shots on better than 60 percent shooting.
None of LeBron’s makes came off a dunk.
In other words, he’s really good. In case you didn’t already know.
You knew it was coming. After Dwyane Wade raised the bar with his videobomb cartwheel of LeBron James’ post-game interview in Monday’s win over Phoenix, LeBron knew he would have to find a way to top Wade.
Although he’s done it before, LeBron’s giant, grinning face appearing in the middle Wade’s interview following the Heat’s win over Cleveland comes close to topping Wade’s cartwheel and Bosh’s numerous memorable videobombs.
And Dwyane’s deadpan stare into LeBron’s still-grinning face after he slowly turns around? Icing.
Despite only playing with the Miami Heat for three years, it was extremely difficult to narrow down LeBron’s best dunks as a member of the Heat to only 15. It’s just what tends to happen when you have the power and strength of Karl Malone, the speed and agility of Tim Hardaway and the hangtime of Julius Erving.
What do you get from that mixture? A perfect storm of rim-rattling, dunk-defying and altitude-achieving throwdowns that shake the heavens and the earth themselves. Dunks put down with such ferocity that Satan is banging on the ceiling of Hell with a broom telling LeBron to keep it down up there.
Next time you’re at the American Airlines Arena, make sure to take notice of the divots left in the ceiling by LeBron’s knuckles.
Since we’re all going through basketball withdrawals, a few of LeBron’s dunks will suffice until we start adding new videos to the King’s resume next season.
I’ve heard people say that LeBron James does the same dunk every time.
I call those people idiots. James had 144 regular season dunks, fifth in the league behind power forwards/centers in Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and JaVale McGee, and definitively led all postseason players in dunks with 28, nine more than second-place Tyson Chandler.