So we can probably knock off the coasting talk now.
LeBron James, the two-time reigning Most Valuable Player of the NBA and leader of the back-to-back NBA champion Miami Heat, had been accused by some of coasting through this regular season.
But he’s picked up his play of late, erupting for a career-high 61 points Monday night as the Heat routed the Charlotte Bobcats 124-107.
It was a deadly efficient 61, too, as James accomplished it on just 33 shots. He was 22-for-33 overall, 8-for-10 from 3-point range and 9-for-12 from the line in 41 minutes.
It was the NBA’s second 60-point game this season, joining Carmelo Anthony, who lit up the Bobcats for 62 on Jan. 24.
Before that, you had to go back to February 2009 to find the NBA’s last 60-point game. Kobe Bryant knocked down 61 points against the Knicks on Feb. 2, 2009.
James’ previous career high was 56 points against the Raptors on March 20, 2005, when he was still with Cleveland. The outburst also set a single-game record for the Heat, breaking the mark of 56 points set by Glen Rice against Orlando on April 15, 1995.
James is now the 22nd player in NBA history with at least 60 points in a game. Wilt Chamberlain did it 32 times, Bryant has done it five times, Michael Jordan topped the mark on four occasions and Elgin Baylor had three 60-point games.
As always, the players selected must play at least 25 minutes a game in more than half of their team’s games (rookies must average 20 minutes a game to be selected).
All statistical information from NBA.com/Stats.