Hey, Durant: Masked man coming to take back his MVP
MAR 04, 2014 9:00a ET
A golf ball in the ocean isn't a good thing -- if you're playing golf. If you're LeBron James, however, and you're describing how it felt when you were shooting the ball, that's an entirely different matter.
It was a career night for the NBA's best player, scoring 61 points for a Miami Heat team record, shooting 22 of 33, including eight straight three-pointers in a 124-107 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night. At one point, James pulled up in transition and let fly from 30 feet and nailed it. Golf ball in the ocean.
Afterward, LeBron spread the credit around, starting with a heavenly source:
For those who hadn't noticed, LBJ is on a tear since the All-Star break, responding to the gauntlet tossed down by would-be MVP Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. FOX Sports Live's Gary Payton breaks it down for us:
So does Brevin Knight.
Not that we should need much convincing when it comes to LeBron. Isn't that right, Tracy McGrady?
Sitting here watching "The Masked Man" showing why he's the best in the game.— Tracy McGrady (@Real_T_Mac) March 4, 2014
Speaking of that mask James was wearing in the wake of his busted nose, another observer immediately saw the potential commerce involved:
LeBron scores 61. How long before "Nike LeBron Masks" hit the stores at $79.95 a pop?— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzAJC) March 4, 2014
But back to basketball. Just in case you need to see it to believe it, here is every one of LeBron's 22 field goals.
And here is his out-of-this-world shot chart.
After the game, some players on the floor struggled with what they saw.
"That's a video-game game right there." — teammate Shane Battier.
Others could relate — sort of.
"It feels amazing. You're in a zone like no other regardless who's on you, two people, three people. When you got that type of rhythm going, you're going to make the shot. It's just a matter of getting the shot off. It doesn't matter who's on you." — teammate Rashard Lewis, who once scored 50 in a game.
Chris Bosh once scored 44 in a game, but admitted he learned a lesson in watching James pile up the points from beyond the arc.
"I gotta shoot 3's. I should have been shooting 3's. [Bosh's 44-point game] probably would have been 47."
And in case you were wondering if you could get into James' head when he is in the zone . . .
"When I walked out of the locker room at the third quarter, D-Wade said, 'You better get 40!' I had 40 when he came to sit back down in the third quarter."
That isn't to say King James himself wasn't at least a little awestruck.
"I haven't really kind of grasped what just happened," James said in street clothes and wearing a backpack while standing before his locker surrounded by media members, FOX Sports Florida's Charlie McCarthy reported. "I'm about to go to the airport. I'm by myself, so I might have an opportunity to think about it."
But he was able to put it into perspective to ask if it was the best game of his career.
"It probably would be No. 1 because it's right here, right now. I've had so many individual great games and I always go back to my (48-point 2007) Eastern Conference Finals Game 5 in Detroit ... that game always sticks with me."
Perhaps the biggest shame in the evening was that Al Jefferon may have had the best game of his career, as well:
Poor Al Jefferson and his 38 and 19 on 18 of 24 shooting— Dan Le Batard Show (@LeBatardShow) March 4, 2014
But at least the fans get cheap pizza!
But make no mistake, this night was all about LeBron.
damn @KingJames 61 is tough. Congrats.— Roy Hibbert (@Hoya2aPacer) March 4, 2014
Pulled a Roger Maris huh...— Andre Iguodala (@andre) March 4, 2014
Now, as coincidence would have it, James' big night came a day after the 52nd anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game. So the question was put to LeBron: Could he score 100?
And speaking of old school, James' teammate Shane Battier went back, tweeting out an updated version of a quip long ago uttered by Hot Rod Hundley about himself and high-scoring teammate Elgin Baylor with the Los Angeles Lakers. It's an oldie, but give Battier credit for knowing his history.