He took to the left block, established undeniable position, and scored on his man with a high left hand hook off glass. It was efficient, nostalgia-inducing (clearly taking away from his work with Olajuwan). It was also one shot among the 13 shots James would make, needing just 14 to finish the night with 31 points.
The eight assists and eight rebounds are something of a formality for the game’s best player.
James’ offensive output last night pitted a handful of feeble efforts from Charlotte, with defender after defender looking as though he’d been asked to stand tall in front of a tank.
Post move after post move, James dazzled with his pure size, seldom made so apparent as it was against a diminished Gerald Henderson. One can hardly imagine what it’s like for the former tar-heel to have to deal with James and a relatively new arsenal of post moves. The spins, change of direction, and pure strength powered him to several strong finishes.
It’s when James goes into that interior berserk-er mode that we are all reminded who the champions were last year. In a year where top tier teams like the Clippers, Thunder, and Grizzlies have found some national media time as the “biggest challenge” to the Heat’s repeat ambitions, the Heat sent a message (albeit against a lesser team, to say the least) that they were still the champs. The still had in their employ the NBA’s very best player.
James has already had some impressive performances. What separates this one was that James, for the first time this season, reminded us all of that game 6 performance against Boston, where James took his team’s play-off hopes into his own hands.
LeBron played a remarkable game against a less-than-so opponent. But, rather than the diminutive opponent and its dicey result (Bobcats were winning in the 4th quarter), the rest of the NBA could do well to focus on this: The game’s most intimidating talent is more daunting now than when he won his first championship.
Mohamed Abdihakim is a journalism student at Florida Atlantic University. He is a Phoenix Suns fan, who is not prepared for the possibility of Nash winning a title in a Lakers jersey. Mohamed is also an editor at Hoops Nation and contributes to Les Snobs. Interests include International basketball, Mad Men, and blues music. Nearly all stats are credited to Hoopdata or Basketball-Reference.
Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim.