‘Competitive household’ brings out the best in LeBron James

MIAMI — As a man who often uses Instagram himself, Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley saw LeBron James’ post a night earlier concerning the King’s namesake.

LeBron James Jr., 9, had gone for 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a game on Thursday night.

“That’s not fair, man,” Beasley told FOX Sports Florida before aiming a message toward his talented teammate. “There’s already one of you. Now there’s two of you coming up?”

Social media wasn’t needed to spread the word about LeBron James the elder on Friday night, when the Heat star scored a season-high 39 points in a 110-104 victory against the Dallas Mavericks at AmericanAirlines Arena. He also had six rebounds and four assists.

If James needed extra motivation against Dirk Nowitzki & Co., he got it courtesy of his son.

“I just had to hold up my end of the bargain,” a smiling LeBron said. “It’s a very competitive household these days.

“My youngest son (Bryce, 6) has a game tomorrow that I’m going to miss — I hate that I’m going to miss it. It’s a very competitive family we’ve got going on with me and my two boys. I held up my end of the bargain, we’ll see what my youngest son does tomorrow.”

A week earlier, much of the talk about James concerned a sore lower back. He admitted, after using a heating pad during a Nov. 7 win against the Los Angeles Clippers, he had been dealing with the achy back since training camp.

There was no such talk following a win against Milwaukee on Tuesday night, when James scored 33 points, or after beating the Mavericks, against whom he hit 14 of 18 shots.

“It’s incredible he gets his points the high percentage he shoots,” said Dwyane Wade, who had 17 points, eight assists and a career-high eight steals. “It’s really unheard of.

“You can see a pep in his step a little bit. He’s feeling comfortable now.”

Even when he’s feeling his best, James said people should not expect him to focus on scoring more.

“I had 40 (actually 39 points) with 18 shots. If I get 37 shots in a game, I’d get 60 easy,” said James, who was then asked if he’d ever taken that many shots.

“I don’t know. It would have to be five or six overtimes. But I don’t remember the last time I took 30 shots in a game. Our team is not predicated on that.”

The last time LeBron took at least 30 shots in a regulation game was on April 4, 2010, when he took 31 in his then-Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss at Boston. He did it twice since then in overtime games.

“He wants to win more than anything,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He understands what’s the most successful way for us to play. When you’re a talented player, that sometimes goes against your instincts because you have such great pride and belief in your ability — which he does.

“He’s very strongly willed, but he’s arguably the most team-oriented person.”

James explained it another way.

“It can never be about me,” he said. “My game won’t allow it. Even the other night, D-Wade was saying, ‘Why don’t you shoot more?’ when I had it going in the third quarter.

“I’m all about team. I don’t care about myself.”

In this case, “team” means both the Miami Heat and the James family.

Which brings us back to the boy would would be King.

“He actually said he had a triple-double in the car,” James said of the boy he calls Bronny. “I had to explain it to him that you needed to have 10 rebounds and 10 assists.”

Perhaps Bryce will come through Saturday while James and the Heat are in Charlotte to play the Bobcats.

Charlie McCarthy can be reached at mac1763@bellsouth.net or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas.