LeBron James warned us this was coming.
We wrote off his words as fantasy, but they should have been filed under the "foreshadowing" category.
Back in November, James was asked about some of the gaudy shot-attempt numbers he sees around the league and what he might do if given that type of opportunity.
"If you give me 37 shots in a game, I’d have 60 ... 70," he said, via ESPN.com's Tom Haberstroh, setting off a series of laughs from the crowd of reporters around him. "“I had [almost] 40 now with 18 shots, I mean ... If you give me 37 shots in a game, I’d put up 60. Easy."
James, it turns out, was selling himself short. He needed just 33 shots to post a career-high (and Miami Heat franchise-record) 61 points during Miami's 124-107 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday.
We don't typically think of the four-time MVP as a scorer. His game is too well rounded to place him inside a box as rigid as that.
He's so many different things on the hardwood—creator, finisher, stopper—but scorer is absolutely one of his roles. He does have a scoring title under his belt (30.0 points per game in 2007-08) along with the third-highest career scoring average in league history (27.6), after all.
Spurred by this latest scoreboard barrage, that got us thinking about the best scoring performances of his career. Was this performance the finest of the King's crown jewels?
*Statistics used courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.
**Rankings determined by the "offensive game score," a simplified version of the game score metric created by current Memphis Grizzlies vice president of basketball operations and former ESPN analyst John Hollinger. The formula used to calculate offensive game score is points + (0.4 * field-goals) + (-0.7 * field-goal attempts) + ((free-throw attempts - free throws) * -0.4).