MIAMI — LeBron James didn’t offer the world a single tweet in the hours after Tuesday’s record-setting performance.
But what if James had been watching another player do what he has lately? How would the Miami Heat star respond to it?
“I’d be tweeting like crazy, probably,” James said.
The world might not read much about it @KingJames. But they can see and hear plenty elsewhere.
In Miami’s 117-104 win over Portland at AmericanAirlines Arena, James became the first player in NBA history to have six consecutive games of 30 or more points while shooting 60 percent or better. He had been tied with Adrian Dantley (1979-80) and Moses Malone (1981-82) at five in a row.
James had 30 points and shot 11 of 15 from the field (73.3) in his latest masterpiece of efficiency as the Heat stormed back from a 14-point second-quarter deficit. Shooting 60 percent never was an issue, but James needed a driving dunk over former Cleveland teammate Sasha Pavlovic with 4:56 left in the game and another ferocious dunk with 2:38 remaining to reach 30 points.
While James has been handling matters on the court with such ease, what has been difficult on the Heat has been trying to continue to describe James’ accomplishments. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra admits he has been quite pressed lately coming up with new James superlatives, so he took a night off from it Tuesday.
“He played a very good basketball game,” Spoelstra deadpanned to laughter from the media. “That’s all you’re going to get out of me right now.”
Heat guard Dwyane Wade apparently peaked too early in describing James’ play. Speaking last Friday after the fourth game of the streak, Wade said James is “off the planet” and is the best player “in the galaxy right now.”
“I’m glad you all used that. That was nice,” said Wade, who then admitted after Tuesday’s game he didn’t have any better material to offer, calling what James has done lately “indescribable.”
Even Duke graduate Shane Battier, who has an extensive vocabulary, was tongue-tied.
“Even I’m tapped out,” Battier said. “I need to go to the thesaurus. I said ‘poignant,’ but I don’t think (that works)… When I return (from the All-Star break), I will have (new material).”
As for scoring 30 points and shooting 60 percent in Sunday’s All-Star Game, Battier said James will “do that easily.” Who’s to doubt Battier the way James is playing?
James said he was at a “loss for words” to discuss his record run. But, really, he wasn’t.
James is quite humbled by what he has done lately. He did do a good job in describing that feeling.
“It means a lot honestly because I know the history of the game,” said James, a 10-year veteran whose team is 6-0 during his scintillating streak. “I know how many great and dominant players have come through through the years and paved the way for me. To be able to have this streak and to be able to have it where we’ve won every game and to be efficient like I’ve been able to be efficient from the floor, it means a lot.”
James’ recent efficiency really gained attention during Miami’s 107-97 win Sunday over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Elias Sports Bureau dug up the stat that his five-game stretch had been equaled in history only by Dantley and Malone.
“It kind of blew my mind not the guys that were on (the list), but some of the guys that weren’t on it,” said James, who also still found time Tuesday to grab six rebounds, hand out nine assists and block two shots as the Heat won the 1,000th game in their 25-year history. “You would think Wilt (Chamberlain) would have like a 40/70, 40 points a game, 70 percent from the field. You would think (Michael Jordan) would have one of those records where he shot unbelievable from the field and (had) 30-point games. You would think so many guys. (Shaquille O’Neal), you know. But to see how small the list was, and for me even to be a part of the list to start off was like, ‘Wow.”‘
Over his past six games, James has shot 66 of 92 for 71.7 percent and averaged 30.8 points. He hasn’t hurt his percentage that much when he steps outside, having gone 10-of-18 on 3-pointers for 55.6.
The streak began Feb. 3 at Toronto on Super Sunday. It sure was the start of something super.
When one considers James made his final four shots that day, he has hit 60 of his past 80 field-goal attempts for a whopping 75 percent. With that kind of showing, James on Sunday overshadowed an impressive 30-point performance by Wade and on Tuesday a 32-point night from center Chris Bosh.
Nevertheless, Bosh, who shot 13-of-16 and had 11 rebounds, had no problem talking more about James than himself. The often-witty Bosh was asked if he had any new superlatives regarding James he wanted to unveil.
“No, nothing clever or anything,” Bosh said. “He’s just playing extremely well right now. Obviously, he’s on a pretty classic, dynamic run right now.”
“Classic?” “Dynamic?” That might not be the out-of-this-world description Wade offered. But unless James offers any surprises soon on Twitter, that does sum it up nicely.