Friday, February 4, 2011

LeBron James: So easy to hate, but so tough to hate his game

(photo courtesy of

Did Dwight Howard think mocking LeBron James' pre-game routine was smart? Either that or he just didn't care if the Magic won or not last night. Because when you give LeBron James extra motivation, it NEVER works out in your favor.

James came into last night struggling with his mid-range and outside game this season. Against the likes of Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark, he found his touch.

James hit his first 11 shots, shot 17-for-25 (3-for-5 on three-pointers) and scored 51 points, only the fourth player in the last season in a half to hit the mark. He added 11 rebounds and eight assists, coming just two helpers short of the first triple-double in a 50-point game since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975.

As much as I despise James as a human being, not for choosing Miami over New York but because of the media spectacle that was "The Decision" and the way he bailed on Cleveland in the playoffs and in the offseason, he is still the NBA's ultimate competitor (is that sentence hypocritical?). And when you inspire a player like that, watch out!

James didn't waste much time showing Howard he screwed up, as he scored 23 of Miami's 30 points in the first quarter. The Magic, like most teams, had no answer for James when his jumper was falling. The guy can get to the hoop against anybody in the NBA; you have to give him space.

If Howard just stayed quiet before the game, James wouldn't have scored 51 points; of that I am certain. In what turned into a great game that Orlando has a chance to tie in with nine seconds left after being down 90-69 with 6:15 left, a few of those points would have made one hell of a difference.

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