On the eve of being named Google’s most searched NBA player of the year, LeBron James came up short for a triple-double during Miami’s scorching shooting win over the Utah Jazz Monday night at American Airlines Arena, 117-94. Despite only scoring 30 points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing nine assists, LeBron joined only five other players since the 1985-86 season to have such a domineering all-around game.
‘Bron is a 28-year-old in his prime after capturing consecutive MVP and NBA Finals MVP awards the last two seasons. He’s got to be leading the MVP race again this year, despite strong competition from Kevin Durant and Paul George. James is third in the NBA in scoring at 25.3 PPG, and he’s shooting a ludicrous 59.8 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from three-point range for those points. For comparison’s sake, KD — probably the most gifted natural scorer of our generation, and a player who recorded his first 50/40/90 shooting splits last year — is shooting 48.7 percent from the field, more than 10 percent less than ‘Bron.
Not only has James become one of the most accurate shooters in the NBA today, but he’s also not slacking in other departments. Through 24 games this season, he’s averaging 6.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game. While he’s not averaging a triple-double, those assist and rebounding numbers combined with that insane shooting percentage represents yet another fantastic year for James.
So why was his 30 point, nine assist and nine dime performance so incredible? The Heat had their best shooting game of the season, going 45-of-71 from the field for a 63.4 percent conversion rate. They were led in that uber-efficiency by James’ 13-for-17 night, which is 76.5 percent shooting. As a Heat fan pointed out on Twitter, only five players since 1985-86 have passed for at least nine assists, grabbed at least nine rebounds while shooting over 75 percent and scoring 30 points or more in a game.
LeBron has 30-9-9 on 75+ percent shooting tonight. Only five players have done that since 85-86 #HeatNation
— Jose Morales (@JOSE97LUIS) December 17, 2013
The other four are: Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Brad Daugherty and Hedo Turkoglu — the latter of which had the most recent after his 12-for-15 game in March of 2002 for 31 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. Actually, to be fair to the other people on this list, LeBron’s inclusion is at the very lowest end of the group. Still, it’s yet another reminder that it’s LeBron’s NBA we’re all witnessing.
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