It’s the Friday after Thanksgiving and the Cleveland Cavaliers are hosting the Charlotte Hornets. With 3:38 minutes left in the game LeBron James leaves a lazy pass for JR Smith which gets stolen and leads to a Kidd-Gilchrist dunk on the other end. The Cavs deficit is now six; 98-93.
The Cavs were riding a season high six game winning streak going into the game. They could have easily folded. They have been playing slightly better these past few games. However, James proceeds to draw a shooting foul; he splits the free throws, he then drives to the lane finishes with his left, gets fouled and knocks down the free throw. Afterwards James gets Dwight Howard switched onto him at the top of the key; instead of settling for a jump shot he uses a nice hesitation move and gets to the basket for another layup. The game is now tied at 99. JR Smith would hit a free throw to put the Cavs up for good leading to their seventh straight victory and the second time they have beat the Hornets in a week.
LeBron James finished the game with his second triple-double of the season; 27 points, 16 rebounds, 13 assists and three blocks. He shot 10-20 from the field for 50%. James has hit at least 50% of his shots in 17 of 19 games this season.
In a season with many storylines I have to ask, are we seeing the best LeBron James ever? I know it sounds crazy to ask that for a player in his 15th season with as many minute played as LeBron. But look at the numbers.
In his first stint with the Cavs he won MVP during the 2009-10 season, he averaged 29.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 8.6 apg while shooting 50% from the field and 33% from 3-point range.
During the 2012-13 season with the Miami Heat he also won MVP averaging 26.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 7.3 apg while shooting 56% from the field and 40% from 3-point range.
Five years later in 18 games this season LeBron James is averaging 28.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 8.3 apg while shooting 58% from the field and 42% from 3-point range. He leads the NBA in points per game in the 4th quarter at 9.9 and Porzingis is second at 7.5, and he’s tied with Kyrie Irving in clutch points in the 4th quarter.
Yeah his defense has slipped because he has to do so much for the Cavs but he can turn it up at times. Recently he shut down Kristaps Porzingis in the 4th quarter, he shut down Blake Griffin in another 4th quarter and in this recent game against Charlotte he harassed Kemba Walker on plenty of possessions late in the game.
LeBron James has been to the finals in seven straight seasons. He’s supposed to be slowing down but he keeps adding little things to his game which makes him scarier. He only has two games shooting under 50%. Giannis Antetokounmpo barely takes outside shots and he’s already had six games under 50%. LeBron has 16 games of at least 50% shooting, in those games he has shot at least 60% nine times.
In October he averaged 24 ppg while shooting 58% from the field while only taking 16 shots per game. So far in November he’s averaging 31 ppg while taking 20 shots per game and is still shooting 58% from the field. In his 57-point performance he shot 67% from the field (23-34).
It’s still an early NBA season but the things LeBron James is doing at this point in his career is unheard of. The Cavs are winning lately so people stopped talking about them as much. Just remember to always keep an eye on LeBron James.