While LeBron James has played at a high level all season, he’s been especially dominant over the last week.
That doesn’t bode well for the Atlanta Hawks, who have had enough trouble with the Miami Heat of late.
James looks to lead Miami to a fourth straight win and eighth in a row over the visiting Hawks on Tuesday night.
Among the NBA leaders with 27.3 points per game and a field-goal percentage of 62.2, James has proven nearly unstoppable during the Heat’s run, averaging 34.0 points while going 40 for 57 (70.2 percent) from the floor.
James stayed hot with 30 points on 13-of-18 shooting in Saturday’s 97-81 victory at Charlotte.
“More than anything, it was his energy,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “When you see him attacking off the glass and pushing coast to coast, you know he feels good with his body and you know it sets a great tone for our team. He’s playing with great energy on both ends of the court.”
The four-time NBA MVP added seven assists as Miami (7-3) shot 50.7 percent.
“You know, he’d be fun to watch if you weren’t coaching the other team,” Charlotte’s Steve Clifford said.
James will try to keep things going against the Hawks (6-4), who have dropped 13 of 15 in the series, including the last seven while averaging just 90.6 points. James has posted 23.5 points, 4.1 fewer than his career average, on 52.1 percent shooting while playing in six of those games.
Atlanta is seeking a third straight win and fifth in six games following a 110-90 victory at New York on Saturday. Eight players scored in double figures as the Hawks shot 56.4 percent.
Paul Millsap had 14 points and 13 rebounds while reserve guard Shelvin Mack scored 12 to go along with a career-high 12 assists. The Hawks’ bench scored 43 points, well above its season mark of 28.2.
“Man, those guys stepped up real big for us,” Millsap said. “They did a great job coming off and sparking that energy for us. They came in, executed well, played great defense. … Going forward, that’s what we’re going to need. We’re going to need a bench to compete in this league.”
Kyle Korver had 15 points and extended his streak of consecutive games with a made 3-pointer to 83, moving to within six of Dana Barros’ NBA record. Korver, who is 27 for 54 from beyond the arc, has averaged just 3.8 points while going 5 of 16 from long distance in his last four visits to Miami.
While the Heat are allowing 98.6 points per game, they are hoping to build on Saturday’s defensive performance. Miami held the Bobcats to 34.9 percent shooting, including 8 of 27 from 3-point range.
“At the end of the day if we don’t defend we aren’t going to be able to compete where we want to compete,” said James, who is averaging a career-low 0.7 steals. “It was nice to see us play with a lot of energy.”
Heat point guard Mario Chalmers will be back after serving a one-game suspension for a flagrant-2 call during Friday’s 110-104 victory over Dallas. Ray Allen could also return after missing the last three games with the flu.