Over time, fans have become numb to what LeBron James does on a basketball court. Oh, a 40-point game? Another highlight-reel dunk? We've seen it all before, right?
And then Monday night happened.
This broke his previous best of 56, which he scored with the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2005, per Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel:
Career high for LeBron, 57, topping his 56 for Cleveland against Toronto in 2005.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) March 4, 2014
Fifty-six was also the Heat franchise record, set by swingman Glen Rice back in 1995, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press:
HISTORY for LeBron James. Career-high 57 points tonight, also a Heat franchise record, topping Glen Rice's 56. James' high also was 56.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) March 4, 2014
With those 61 points, James nearly increased his season average by one point per game, according to ESPN.com's Tom Haberstroh:
It is March and LeBron's scoring average just went from 26.9 to 27.5 after one game.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) March 4, 2014
Of course, that was just one of many personal bests that LeBron set on Monday night, via SportsCenter:
LeBron James tonight: • Career-high in points (57) • Career-high in FG (21) • ties career-high in 3-pt FG (8) pic.twitter.com/QmUUaqYBRU— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 4, 2014
Surprisingly, it's the first time the Heat superstar has scored 50-plus at home, per ESPN Stats & Info:
This is the 1st time in his career that @KingJames has had a 50-point game on his home court— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 4, 2014
After the game, James told Bleacher Report's Ethan J. Skolnick that he was glad he did it in front of the home fans:
LeBron: "I wouldn't want to do it front of anybody else."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) March 4, 2014
LeBron: "I felt like I had a golf ball throwing it into the ocean."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) March 4, 2014
James was able to score from all over the court on Monday night. The Bobcats were the unfortunate witnesses to the carnage, unable to mount any kind of challenge to slow down the King. As for the rest of his team, they were able to sit back and enjoy the show.
SB Nation's Mike Prada jokingly wondered where James' supporting cast was during the game:
LeBron got no help smh pic.twitter.com/tupXMCyrTK— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) March 4, 2014
The landmark was a mere formality after three quarters, by which time LeBron had already scored 49 points. This is what his shot chart looked like, per CBS Sports' Eye on Basketball:
And here's what it looked like at the end of the game:
Just to put into perspective how impressive James' performance was, noted LeBron-hater Skip Bayless was even singing his praises:
LeBron: 8 for 8 from three, 49 points, in less than three quarters w/o DWade. NBA record: 9 for 9. KD just fell to 2nd in MVP.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) March 4, 2014
LeBron James is OUT OF HIS MIND shooting threes right now and a close game at half vs MJ's team is becoming a blowout.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) March 4, 2014
Though it's only one game, the MVP race might have just gotten a little more interesting. Nobody was saying that James couldn't win it again, but between voter fatigue and Kevin Durant's ridiculous January, momentum seemed to have swung in favor of the Oklahoma City Thunder small forward.
But LeBron went on a rampage throughout February averaging over 30 point per game, and followed it up with this showstopper.
Rather than arguing over who's the best basketball player in the world, fans should simply sit back and bask in seeing the two greatest players of their generation going head-to-head night in and night out.
Your move, Mr. Durant.