61 points by LeBron James is not simply 61 points.
It means something.
There must be a reason.
With no Dwyane Wade, the masked man many call LeBron erupted—setting both career and team highs with 61 points.
His previous high was 56 points in 2005 against the Toronto Raptors. The Miami Heat club record was 56 points by Glen Rice.
LeBron took over the record on 22-33 shooting, including 8-10 from three, in addition to seven rebounds and five assists in route to a 124-107 win against the Charlotte Bobcats.
“The man above has given me some unbelievable abilities to play the game of basketball,” James said after the game. “I just try to take advantage of this every night.”
And he was wearing the clear mask, too. Imagine what he could have done without that thing on his face.
Meanwhile, the Heat have won eight-straight games and are playing the best basketball of the season. Some of that has to do with Wade playing well, who sat tonight for precautionary reasons, and Greg Oden hedging his way into the regular rotation.
And also LeBron, who has put up 37, 36, 22, 42, 33, 31, 20 and 61 in every game he played on this current streak.
But why did James go for 61 tonight?
It had something to do with Wade sitting. It may also have something to do with Chris Bosh’s struggling jump-shot early in the game.
This is pure speculation, but maybe there was a Jordan-like desire to crush an upstart Bobcats defense.
All I know for sure is that, with LeBron, this is not a coincidence.
LeBron is certainly capable of going for 40, 50 and even 60 points more often than he does.
He opts, instead, to be one of the best teammates in the league who empowers the players in his locker room.
It may have been necessity (Miami started slow, as did LeBron on offense) with Miami down 23-20 with two minutes left in the first quarter and were showing signs of a lackluster night.
Or, it may have been a message.
And if that didn’t excite Heat fans enough:
“To do it with these fans, man, they was there for the long, uh, for the whole… all 61,” James said after the game. “They were exciting me, man, they was able to get me through it and I wouldn’t wanna do it in front of anybody else.”