LeBron James' mastery of the hardwood continues to cement his MVP campaign.
In 31 minutes of work (none of which came in the fourth quarter), James scorched L.A. with 30 points, six assists, five rebounds and two blocks. The "Chosen One" had nearly a perfect shooting night, hitting nine of his 11 field-goal attempts, four of his five threes and eight of 11 free throws.
While Kevin Durant will do everything in his power to keep the MVP race respectable, James simply lets his play do all the talking. His effort tonight had a certain conclusive feel to it:
Good lord LeBron. 30 pts, 9-11 FG, 4-5 3s, 6 assts, 5 rebs. It's. Over.— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) February 9, 2013
It's not a stretch or a slight to say that the Oklahoma City Thunder forward isn't competing on the same planet as James.
No one is, according to teammate Dwyane Wade:
WADE on LEBRON: "He's off the planet. He's not even the best player on the planet. He's somewhere else right now--the galaxy."— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) February 9, 2013
It was James' fourth straight 30-point outing, all of which included at least five rebounds and five assists.
Amazingly, Friday night wasn't his best shooting performance of the week. LeBron went 13-14 from the field en route to a 31-point effort vs. the Bobcats Monday. Over his last three games, he's shooting 77 percent and averaging 31 points.
Just where he could take his game from here is anyone's guess:
Wade on LeBron: “It’s kind of like, where’s the bar for this guy? Does he have a bar?”— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) February 9, 2013
One thing's for certain: He's not finished yet.
He's silencing those concerns of a championship hangover, with visions of bigger and brighter things this season for himself and his team:
.@kingjames: I'm confident in my abilities, I'm just playing my game right now. I want to continue to get better, I'm not satisfied.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 9, 2013
He has all the reason in the world to be satisfied, but that's just not his style. If it were, he could've been just another overhyped, underwhelming hoops prodigy who peaked long before he ever got started:
The great thing about LeBron is that he's one of the few athletes that has met the hype. Dude was basically a child star and hasn't folded.— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) February 9, 2013
He's too hungry for that, a chiseled 6'8", 250-pound specimen of grit, smarts and determination.
Yet amazingly, he's continued his ascent up the game's all-time ranks and even kept his sense of humor:
It's not as if the Los Angeles Lakers can't challenge the mighty Heat, but their uninspiring, come-from-behind victory over the lowly Charlotte Bobcats on Friday doesn't bode well for their chances in Miami on Sunday.
I, for one, am not convinced it will indeed be "a good one." Not from the teams, that is.
A "good one" from James, though? That's quickly become the surest guarantee in professional sports.