The Miami Heat came prepared to play Monday night against the Bobcats when superstar LeBron James, a four-time NBA most valuable player, handled the Bobcats with a 61-point outburst that led the Heat to a 124-107 win. The 61-points is a personal record for LeBron and a franchise record for the Miami Heat. James prior best was 56 points for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Mar. 20, 2005. The previous owner of the franchise record was Glen Rice, who scored 56 on Apr. 15, 1995. Rice’s record lasted for nearly 19 years in the books; a record that Rice probably hoped would last for at least another 19 years.
James stat line is efficiency at its finest. He netted 22 of 33 field goals including 8 of 10 three-pointers, 9 of 12 free throws, and 7 rebounds. The All-Star was one point off from amassing 50 percent of his team’s total points on a night where they scored 124! Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra had one play drawn up tonight in team huddles. Give the ball to James and watch the Heat superstar handle the Bobcats on his route to a 61-point outburst.
Spoelstra said, “There was an efficiency to what he was doing. The rim looked like an ocean for him.”
Spoelstra claims he nearly subbed James out for the remainder of the game after the third quarter. An idea he thankfully rebuked for James, Heat fans, and basketball history. James has his critics outside of Miami because of his ability to carry teams to back to back championships while leaving other competitors dirtied in the dust, but witnessing a player score 61 points and hit 30 foot pull up jumpers is Space Jam type otherworldly. Curiosity strikes as to what Michael Jordan thinks about this game as the Bobcats owner and James comparative.
The Bobcats have been stingy defenders this year allowing 97 points per game for fourth best in this NBA department. Strangely enough the two highest single player scoring efforts this year have come at the Bobcats hands or paws in this case. Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks had 62 points against Charlotte on Jan. 24.
60-point house burning outbursts by a single player begs the question of highest single game scoring achievements in NBA history. Time to dust off the record books and see where James ranks! The Niles Olson school of records has been slightly modified to focus only on record-setting games after the three-point field goal was implemented. Post three-point field goal implementation is 1979 and forward, sorry Wilt “the Stilt” Chamberlain. Chamberlain’s scoring records all happened in the 1960s. He owns first, third, fourth, fifth, seventh place, etc.
Kobe Bryant places first and fourth with 81 points on Jan. 22, 2006 against the Toronto Raptors and 65 points on Mar. 16, 2007 verse the Portland Trail Blazers. David Robinson is second on the podium with 71 points on Apr. 24, 1994 against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Bronze medal goes to Michael Jordan with 69 points verse the Cavaliers.
LeBron James is tied for eighth all time with his 61-point achievement. He is going to need a 69-point effort to reach the top three single game scorers of all time, but nonetheless, a 61-point outburst by the Miami Heat superstar in his handling of the Bobcats is historically impressive.
Commentary by Niles Olson