LeBron James notched his 37th career triple-double Friday against the Detroit Pistons, which, in the grand scheme of things, isn't all that surprising. What is surprising, though, is that it took James nearly five months to record one this season.
He logged four triple-doubles last season, with his first coming on Dec. 4, 2012. He recorded another in each of the following three months, and then three more during last year's playoffs.
LeBron James has 37th career regular season triple double at Detroit, 48th including playoffs. First since Game 6 of Finals.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) March 29, 2014
Aside from his rookie season, the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign was the only year James was held without a triple-double. Tonight's 17-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound performance ensured that this year won't be added to that list.
He did it in only 30 minutes of court time, as the Heat stomped Detroit at the Palace of Auburn Hills by 32 points.
He came close last month, but fell just one assist short of logging his first triple-double of the year against the Golden State Warriors.
With Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers held out of the lineup, much of the offensive duties fell on LeBron. The fact that Miami was able to start Toney Douglas and Udonis Haslem, and still be able to empty the bench for garbage time, speaks to how unique James truly is.
.@KingJames on tonight’s triple-double (17pts 12asts 10rebs): “It’s been very elusive this season. It’s always great to do it in a win.”— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 29, 2014
The sense of shock upon learning that it took LeBron until nearly April to record the feat does, too. NBA fans have simply grown accustomed to James' greatness—heck, he averages 27.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game for his career.
LeBron and the Heat's dominant showing with two starters missing could impact how Erik Spoelstra navigates the rest of the regular season, in pursuit of the East's top seed. Wade has averaged 20 points, 4.8 assists and 4.6 rebounds this year over 51 games, but LeBron's monstrous output must give Spo a bit more confidence in his team's ability while resting No. 3.
According to NBA.com, the Heat are outscoring their opponents by 7.3 points per 100 possessions with Wade off the floor this season, which is the fourth-highest mark of all Miami rotation players. If the coach needed any reassurance that his team can survive without D-Wade on the court, James delivered just that.
Let tonight act as a friendly reminder from the man himself: There is no player in the NBA quite like King James.