With two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of the Miami Heat's 99-88 Game 1 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday, LeBron James swished the second of two free throws to move into eighth place on the NBA's all-time postseason scoring list.
LeBron has passed Larry Bird (3,897 points) for 8th all time in career playoff scoring (3,898 & counting)— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) April 20, 2014
Realistically, Bird won't lose any sleep over James' milestone. But it can't help matters much, either.
James finished the game with 27 points, giving him 3,898 in 139 career postseason contests.
Bird amassed his total of 3,897 in 164 games and scored his final postseason point at age 36. James is still just 29, which means he's got enough basketball ahead of him to make a serious run at the all-time postseason scoring mark.
You'll never guess who owns that record.
Michael Jordan's 5,987 playoff points top the NBA's career list, a feat His Airness accomplished in 179 games at a clip of 33.5 points per contest.
With a playoff average of just over 28 points per game, James will need about 70 more games at his current pace to overtake Jordan for the No. 1 spot on the list. Heading into this year's playoffs, James had averaged 13.8 playoff games per season, a figure bolstered by the Heat's three straight runs to the NBA Finals.
At that pace, James would catch Jordan sometime during the 2019 playoffs, when he's 34 years old.
Realistically, a lot of things would have to go right for James to meet that projection. He'll almost certainly be playing with a vastly different supporting cast five years from now, as Dwyane Wade's 28 missed games this year clearly signaled the decline phase of his career has already begun.
And it's hard to know if James will even be a member of the Heat when he approaches Jordan's record. Of course, if coach Erik Spoelstra keeps pushing all the right role-player buttons, James might stick around South Beach forever. Not every coach can haul little-used reserve James Jones off the bench and somehow coax 12 points in 14 minutes out of him:
Spoelstra on James Jones: "He's one of those unique players that you can pull out of your bullpen. We learned that early."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 20, 2014
Hearing a mic'd up LeBron compliment Spoelstra just made Jeff Van Gundy's year— J.A. Adande (@jadande) April 20, 2014
Even if LBJ's pace slows a bit, his durability and ever-evolving game make him a star whose staying power should be extremely strong.
Bird is just the latest NBA luminary to fall before James' relentless onslaught on NBA history. Up next: Jerry West and his 4,457 postseason points.
The Logo is officially on notice.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.