Uh-Oh … Is LeBron Even Better?

HOUSTON — Isn’t this exactly what everyone feared? Godzilla breathing even more fire from his snout? Thor swinging a bigger hammer?

So here’s what it looks like when LeBron James is finally able to play without the 800-pound monkey on his back:

  • He scores 32 of his 38 points in the second half of a 113-110 win over the Rockets.
  • He knocks down 5-for-7 from behind the 3-point line in the third and fourth.
  • He muscles inside for a driving layup that completes a Miami comeback from eight points down with just over five minutes left in the game.
  • He gets right in James Harden’s face on the last play and his defense forces an errant shot that saves the win.
  • “How did anybody ever question him?” asked Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “Looking back on it now in big moments, I mean, this guy is the ultimate competitor. He gets absolutely amplified in these situations and you can see them coming. He’s done it over and over.”

    Now, it appears James is just having fun. After finally breaking through to claim that championship in his ninth NBA season, it would seem that what we’re getting now is LeBron unburdened.

    At least, that’s what it looked like on a night when Dwyane Wade tweaked an ankle and when the yeoman work of Chris Bosh looked for the longest time like it might not be enough against the feisty young Rockets.

    When you break down the individual parts, it was nothing that we haven’t seen from him on so many other occasions. But now with the validation that comes from getting the ring and seeing the banner raised up into the rafters, LeBron might be more comfortable inside his skin than at any time since he entered the league as “The Chosen One.”

    “That would only be natural,” said teammate Shane Battier. “The more things you do and the more things you accomplish, the more you feel that you can do.”

    Even for the ones who have now played with him for two years in Miami and even the ones who have their trophy cases filled with trinkets to acknowledge their accomplishments, there is still more to admire.

    “He’s special,” said Wade. “As a teammate, you’re in the middle of a game, but some of the stuff he does, you’re just like shaking your head. There’s not many guys that have played this game that can do that.”

    Hitting off-balance 3s as though he dropping a wad of paper into a trash can.

    “All the time,” Wade said. “His body, the way it’s made, he’s strong. You’ve got to be very strong to shoot that shot. There ain’t no defenses for that. There ain’t no coaching for that. No one helped him. Glo James (his mother, Gloria) gave him that.

    “Is he better? Every year they say that. You”ve got a guy that won three out of four MVPs that sometimes you take it for granted. Even if he doesn’t score 30, you look at the stat line and he has 20-10 and nine. He’s a stat-stuffer. But as you seen, when he has to turn it up he can. He had 32 points in the second half. There ain’t many guys can do that.”

    He appears less tense right now, his personal wall of defenses not erected quite so high. Maybe it’s a product of a 6-2 start and the fact that the Lakers’ troubles a continent away have grabbed the white-hot spotlight of scrutiny.

    Maybe it’s what happens when the best player in the game comes out and is already shooting a career-best of more than 47 percent from the field from behind the 3-point line. He’s scoring less on a nightly basis, but that doesn’t mean he can’t take it to an otherworldly level that only he inhabits when it has to happen.

    “It’s the zone,” James said. “You hear about it. Certain players being into a zone. I wish I could get into it more, but when you’re in it you know how it feels and you know that everything that you put up and how you’re going is pretty good and you just try to stay in it as long as possible.”

    His 32 points in the second half is a record for any Heat player in any half of any game. His string of 149 games scoring in double figures broke the old record held by Wade.

    “Oh, he’s gonna do a lot of that,” Wade said. “There’s gonna be plenty of my records that will be gone. I’m telling you, this is just the start.”

    Which is, of course, what the rest of the NBA feared.


    1. TalksLogic says:

      Anyone who denies LBJ’s greatness is delusional. I HATE him and I HATE the Heat but I will NEVER sit here and say he is not a tremendous basketball player. Kobe Bryant is exceptional, not going to argue that, but he is selfish and far below what LBJ CAN be. When did Bryant take his team single handedly to the finals? Or even MJ for that matter, who had Scotty Pippen and couldn’t win a title before PJax came and implemented his system. Both Bryant and MJ are legendary, but lets not forget the fact that they benefited greatly from Phil’s system.

      Bryant has one thing on Lebron: competitive spirit. His drive to win is what sets him apart from most NBA players. But he throws up so many shots he’s bound to get 40 a few times a season. And statistically, when he scores 40 or more points L.A. loses more often then wins. Why? Because he shoots 40-45% and/or takes his team out of the game by not trusting them.

      Again, Lebron is far better for what he CAN be. Inject Kobe’s or MJ’s competitiveness into Lebron, and he’s quite possibly THE best player to have ever been on an NBA court. And I can say this having the biggest biases against him and how he treated Cleveland.

    2. jake 57 says:


    3. Raul says:

      LeBron is the best to ever play the game, period.

    4. LOL! says:

      You people have to learn that players should not be compared with rings, cause that is won by a team not by a player, Now if you are going to compare players MVP is what should count. Now LeBron and Kobe are not my favorite players none of them but Kobe has 5 rings with only 1 MVP in almost a done carrer?….. and LeBron has 1 ring with 3 MVP’s in only 9 years

      • Brian says:

        That’s because Shaq had the ALL those MVPs during their 3-peat. And what brings a team to a championship? Players right. No players, no team. Simple as that. The biggest stake is at the championship, which all players die for.

    5. Brian says:

      Watch the Heat’s game against the Grizzlies 2 days ago, and see how LeBron played. Not even close to what this article is trying to say. He is a good player. but ain’t a god. Watch the game and see. 104-86 — that was the game’s score. Not even close.

    6. dattebayo says:

      Funny, Lebron has one great game and this article sparks a discussion no one wants to have. Just enjoy watching him play and when all is said and done and he retires, you will know his body of work and can judge it fairly. He is still young, a regular in the MVP discussion and as long as he stays in Miami he will have a shot to win another title. He will have many more great games because he is a great player, do all of you want to continue to praise him to heaven or curse him to hell every time it happens?
      And please, did I read someone write that Kobe is a better defender than Lebron? I still don’t understand how Kobe gets the nod for the all defensive 1st team every year in the first place. There are many better defenders out there, Rondo, Sefolosha, Tony Allen, just to name a few.

    7. Bulls says:

      Wow.. It’s so crazy on how much everyone is caught up in trying to compare players, when that isn’t even what the article is about.. It’s not about MJ Vs. Kobe Vs. Lebron, its about Lebron coming into his prime and showing what he can do.. People need to understand that there is always going to be that “Next Best Player” coming through the ranks. Kobe was up and coming when MJ was dominating the sport, Lebron was up and coming when Kobe was dominating the sport, now its Lebrons turn to dominate and Kevin Durant is the up and coming player.. In 5 years people will be comparing KD to Lebron, Kobe, and MJ. Everyone needs to get over it! No one will ever be MJ again, and even though Kobe tried to mirror alot of MJ’s skills that doesn’t mean he was just trying to copy him.. Everyone emulates their idle growing up, and with MJ being the best player around why wouldn’t you want to emulate his moves that are making people look stupid.. They worked for MJ, and Kobe has taken a lot of what he learned and put his own spin and personality into them.. This makes Kobe a great player, he took what he learned and put the time in to master moves that he had seen, and also make new moves that he uses.. Kobe is/was a dominant force, and will be remembered as such.. I love watching Kobe play because you know he is going to give you 110% Lebron gauranteed emulates moves of other people, you just don’t see it as much because he is able to use his athletic supremacy to dominate games more often than not.. People that say Lebron isn’t clutch say it because they don’t see him hitting buzzer beater jump shots all the time. You want to know why you don’t see that? Because he usually takes over the entire 4th quarter so that his team has the lead going into the final minute so he doesn’t need to come up with that one shot to win the game.. Clutch by definition: “dependable in crucial situations” this doesn’t Necessarily mean the last 5 seconds of the game, if its a close game going into the 4th than its a crucial situation that needs to be taken over, which Lebron usually accomplishes before the final seconds.. He may not have the “Killer Instinct” in the final seconds that make him “need” to take the last shot, but more times than not he has the ball in his hands and makes the last play, either a drive and kick, or a jump shot.. So overall people just need to stop trying to compare everyone.. Kobe is one of the greatest players to ever play the game, a top 2 shooting guard all time.. It’s Lebrons turn to run the league now, and soon enough it will be Kevin Durants turn.. People will compare Kevin Durant and Lebron because of who they are, but at least the comparison makes a little more sense since they play the same position.. I don’t compare who is the best of all time, because there is a million arguments to be made either way, but IF you are going to compare, at least compare people that played the same position and had a similar role.. It is Lebrons time to shine now, he is at the top of his game, and has a couple more years to be this dominant so its going to be exciting to watch. That being said, I’m not a Miami fan, I like to watch them because they are usually exciting, but I’m a Bulls fan, and more importantly a huge D-Rose fan, so I can’t wait until he is back, which in all honesty I hope he waits until he is at full strength so he can come back and be him self. Go Bulls!

    8. nbpenas says:

      The anti-flopping rule should also apply to superstars like LBJ and DWade. Clearly during the Houston and Miami game… LBJ and DWade flopped. Worst, they were given freethrows. NBA rules should be applied fairly… superstar or not.

    9. Logan says:

      I guess they Didn’t see the Heat play the Grizzlies. When Rudy Gay was making Lebron look Stupid.(I’m not comparing Rudy Gay to James, by no mean). LeBron couldn’t even hit free throws in that game. He has only 1 title. He’s the best player right now for sure, BUT please don’t make it out like he is a GOD.

    10. DWADE 3 says:

      Show a little love to WADE!

    11. She-She says:

      LeBron James is my man. I think that dude can do anything.

    12. Arnel Pineda says:

      2nd greatest player ever….after Kareem

    13. Elijah says:

      its so stupid how people are even comparing kobe to lebron… lebron is the better player hands down. in all stats lebron is better than kobe. all people say is about rings, but rings doesnt define how good a player you are. if based on rings, Bill Russell is way better than michael jordan since he has 11 and MJ only has 7, and we all know thats not true. Take karl Malone for example, he was an elite player but never won a championship. Not winning a championship doesnt take away from how good a player is. The people that only look at rings are the people who don’t know the game of basketball. It’s a team sport and no one, not even the great Michael Jordan could have won a championship by himself.

    14. ism says:

      LeBron is now averaging a double-double (24ppg, 10rpg) and 6+ apg for this season. Even if he doesn’t have to score 38 on many nights, that`s beyond impressive. And it`s even more frightening that the Heat`s team chemistry seems very good with Wade playing great but acknowledging James’ superiority, Bosh coming up with huge games out of the blue, when needed, and Ray Allen seeming to blend in well and making almost 55% of his threes… Since before the season, the Heat have been my title favourite – like it, or not. This hasn’t changed a bit.

    15. Lebronian says:

      why haters are so much mad with lebron?

    16. dj rgm9 says:

      Again this overated hype about Bron the self proclaimed king,iff the referee’s spit the whistel’s often more back out than more of the half of his 100.000 tons of traveling ‘so called clutch’ moves each season.You d’ont have to be a ‘nba fan’ to see what the outcom would be instead being pamperd by “the official’s”,NOT EVEN 1 FINAL APPEARANCE THEY COULD REACH. But the reality is how big ‘an illuminati sponsored team’ your BANDWAGONERS “MAIMI CHEATERS” in fact are!!!I wish “them” each play-off bracket failing in the upcoming future!!!
      They are just a bunch of cheaters as a hole together!!!So each championship they win is a big NO NO for me and many others,BIG TIME FAKERS,CHEATERS!!!
      This is comming from a ‘non American&nba freak’ bank this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • bigwes95 says:

        watching some things with michael jordan, he fouled and traveleld more than lebron has. like when he made the gaem winning shot against utah, he pushed off russel and wasn’t called for it, which ultimately could have changed the championship winning team that year were it being fair and called for utah. get over it, because all the superstars get treatment adn all the ones you like do to, you can’t single out only lebron and wade and bosh(okay maybe bosh because he acts A LOT)and lebron is really clutch, you can’t take that from him, he’s hit many game winning baskets and had games that are sometimes better than what jordan ever put up.

      • ARE YOU CRAZY?? says:

        HE NEVER PROCLAIMED HIM SELF AS KING…. He’s a very good player. ONE of a kind.. Why don’t you go ONE ON ONE with him and figure out with yourself how good is him???////? hahahahahahahahahaha

    17. t-mac says:

      everyday you lot talk about kobe on a lebron james article is kobe better than lebron ? NO is kobe a great player yes after all he just modelled his game after mike Lebron plays like lebron no one plays like him you might say hes similar to magic but hes physical gifts say otherwise Mr. efficient personified period

    18. Lebronian says:

      We all know know that Lebron James is the best player in this era.. some might be disagree because they hate him..they don’t accept the truth, that LBJ is the best player on this generation..

    19. Feivel says:

      @ High Time..

      Lebron 1 ring in 3 tries, Kobe has 5 in 7 tries. Kobe is a better defender. Lebron may become better over time, but as of right now, he still has much left to prove to be considered in the same conversation as Kobe or Jordan. There is no doubt that Kobe & Jordan are clutch when it counts, with a combined 11 rings between the two of them, to Lebron’s 1.

      Also, Lebron has been around since the 03 – 04 season. Kobe already had 3 rings by that time. Comparing Kobe to Lebron is like comparing Jordan to Malone in a way, except Malone couldn’t dish the ball. Kobe has the killer instinct that Lebron lacks. Things you should really consider when making comparisons.

      • Game Time says:

        Why are you pitting Kobe & Jordans rings vs Lebron? That makes absolutely no sense! Kobe came into the league in 96 (I believe); Lebron was a rookie in 03 so comparing Kobe’s 3 rings ( won mainly from being with Shaq) is irrelevant. I think it’s high time for you huh?

    20. IfyoureReadingthisYoureStupid=] says:

      its too early to say stuff like poor defense or lebron wont be able to shoot three’s? like the lakers are going to be good this season. itll take time.
      Miami will do better next time. they already proved that they are champions. they are not in a hurry.
      they are just relaxing towards 70+ more games. but when the time comes. they will win it.

    21. Kilroy2James says:

      MJ or Kobe could never dish like lebron can. They’re different players. And lebrons court vision, his in-game-brain, is also underrated bc that’s what truly sets him apart from Kobe. The only thing Kobe has on bron is that clutch, MJ killer instinct and if last night was any indication of the development of Lebron I’d say that gap is closing

    22. king k says:

      Oli is A TRUE HATER!!!!!!!!! nuff said

    23. W/E says:

      so LBJ manages to show some real skill in one game and ppl go crazy… uhm MJ was playing like this in every single game back in his prime…Kobe Bryant also…and there were some really bad calls at the end of the game against Houston that really cost them the game along with the Harden iso plays at the last seconds of the game…

      • W/E says:

        Basically thats what LBJ is missing from his game, all those Jordan type high skill set moves that will put him in the same league as him, if he ever manages to really incorporate them in his game,only Kobe managed to do that and ppl went crazy about him early in his career,now everyone is used to see kobe play like this and no one cares, but when LBJ manages to play with some real bball skill once every 50 games everyone says stupid things like “best player ever” and stuff like that…if he had the same body frame and physicall attributes like Kobe Bryant he would be just an average bball player really…

    24. Oli says:

      Seems he’s getting all the attention after just one good game. Self-proclaimed KING, who needs help from Bosh and Wade to get his first ring! He’s always on NBA.com’s Top plays with his predictable dunks!

      • Game Time says:

        Every player needs a good team to win rings. He didn’t need them however to win MVPs. Unlike Kobe who needed Gasol, Fisher, Odom and practically a whole new team.

        • TruBaller says:

          @ Oli, One good game? Were you asleep during the playoffs? LeBron didnt need help, he went and HELPED! He led the team in every statisitcal category damn near and DOMINATED all challengers. Stop with the hate-orade and sip from the Kings cup lol.

      • IfyoureReadingthisYoureStupid=] says:

        .seems youre getting all the attention you need now
        seems to me you need help from a psychiatrist then youll be a champion calliber too

      • QuestionMark says:

        45 points, 15 rebs vs the Celtics, 40 points, 18 rebs and 9 asts vs Pacers. Lebron needed Wade and Bosh and those two needed him, works both ways, plus Bosh was injured during those two games and Lebron bailed them out. Everyone needs help to win a ring, Jordan couldn’t do it without Pippen or Rodman. Kobe couldn’t do it without Shaq, Gasol, Bynum or Fisher. Duncan couldn’t do it without Manu, Parker or David Robinson, and so on.

    25. macubexx says:

      uhm can i just answer the title?(UH-OH … IS LEBRON EVEN BETTER?)
      yes he is!

    26. Mohcel says:

      Yeah right, say it again bandwagon fans. Never did like Lebron and Wade think too high of themselves. You’ll know what it mean when season ends. LOL! Don’t throw Bandwagon fan lebron poms poms! LOL!!

      • IfyoureReadingthisYoureStupid=] says:

        hold that thought till the end. lets wait and see. and i will call you NOSTRADAMUS.

    27. ko0kie says:

      if he keeps hitting those 3-pointers at 57% we can officially declare the season over.. 😉

      no seriously.. I thought the rockets played great, they’re a team on the rise. LBJ bailed miami out for another night of sloppy defense but he won’t hit 3p at that rate for the rest of the season, miami has to start playing defense at on point..

      it’s nice to see that they can put up a lot of points, but defense wins championships and they have to get a lot better in order to grind out some games where the shots don’t fall.

    28. Miamib2b says:

      Mvp what else? Who else seems worthy of that trophy at the moment?? Nobody

    29. Harrelson can go to FUp. Please put Pittman or Gladness in the 12 bench.
      Miami basketball is street basketball and rude one. PLease su..mu c..k!!!!!

    30. Rocks says:

      Strong, atletic, great release, speed, agility, court vision, tenacity, on and on and on….You’re witnessing a player at his prime. I expect those who have never seen Lebron play in his junior days to be surprised by all this. This is expected from a player of this God gifted talent. What will be surprising for me is how many times he will go all the way (rings). If the Heats wins a threepeat then I will start raising my eyebrows. I think we have seen this kind of dominance before.

    31. This next tile will be dedicated to all bull…t out there. People talk too much.
      Last year I recived too much offense against me and the results were the 2012 ring. In your face. period.

    32. Kingk says:

      Dont hate on him RR, this blog is 100% acurate. He’s the best player in the game, and durant is going to have to wait a long while to earn that title.

    33. Mohcel says:

      A Lebron lover. too bias. LOL!

    34. Mohcel says:

      Very overrated. Lebron you aint having your dynasty in this era. LOL!

    35. First_in_the_NBA says:

      I read from an article, “LE BRON JAMES will never be the next Michael Jordan! He is THE FIRST LEBRON JAMES in NBA history!” I ABSOLUTELY AGREE!!!!!!

    36. John says:

      Sounds like LBJ will take all MVPs this season…hmmmm season All Star and Final MVPs wow….

    37. Michel says:

      wow…no offense to lebron but thats one game where he really took over like this. Its like wait a minute,Fading threes, clutch buckets and comebacks?? Kobe did that A LOT!! But Lebron does it and he already is the MVP of the season. And the D at the end really is overrated. Not that he isn’t good, but harden had to take a 3 to tie it, it wasn’t hard to calculate that in.
      In generell, i dont have a problem with lebron as a player, but as a Kobe fan i think its unfair how lebron gets praised and awarded so quick while kobe sits on one lousy MVP over his “nearly the best player for 8-10 years” career.
      But i always said it. U can’t trust the people who vote this stuff to get it right anyways. Phil Jackson, after all, also sits on just one Coach of the year award.

      • Michel says:

        and Lebron even says it himself. He himself whishes to be in the zone more often. I mean, common. Filling the stat sheets is one thing, but he obviously can’t just light it up whenever. He knows it as well. Lebron is a freak of nature, he is lucky to have that type of physical abilities. If he didn’t have that, he wouldn’t be that good of a player. Kobe, he doesn’t have real physical abilities or gifts.. nothing that is not common as a baller. He is skills from head to toe

        • Game Time says:

          So Lebron’s physical ability made him shoot 5-7 behind the arc? I get tired of hearing the physical attribute argument for Lebron. It seems like a argument made up by dumb Laker fans to defend Kobe’s honor.

      • Game Time says:

        Kobe takes A LOT of shots. It’s never about him taking over, because he’s going to shoot regaurdless. Kobe is a good scorer. I refuse to say great when he’s on the top five list of all time missed shots. He’s sometimes on and sometimes off, but if ANY of the NBA superstars shot as much as him then we would have a handful of candidates for clutch shooters and what not. Another factor that gave Kobe the whole clutch persona was Phil’s coaching. He would come into the 4th quarter at almost 6mins left, and with the rest, then went off shooting to make most his shots. Lebron plays entire games and puts up ridiculous numbers. Granted that last night he probably beifited from not playing most of the 1st. Anyhow Lebron is known more for getting his team involved, but now we are looking at a Lebron who can take over the game and dish out the dimes; yeah he’s getting better.

        • Hm says:

          Hear, hear.

        • Justin says:

          Lol dumb Lakers fan? Don’t say that when we got a Heat banwagoner in here.

        • Laker Nation says:

          and how many times was he clutch in Clevland? oh yeah thats why he left….Defend Kobes honor..hahaha he lets the Splash and buzzer beaters defend that for him, oh and the rings arent a bad Defender of honor. Check your Leego buddy….Melo should have gotten that rookie of the year award too…more points and in his first year leads his team into the playoffs…LE OUCH…

        • Fo Real says:

          Lebron’s the best in the world and will continue to be for the next 5 years at minimum. ACCEPT IT!

          No one compares him to Kobe besides Kobe Fans who sub-conciously know LeBron is better now and are in the denial stages.
          Get over it! Kobe owned the league in his rightfull era now its Lebron’s turn and than it will be Rose and Durant.

          Killer instinct is developing … watch out … the legacy of a legend has commenced!

        • Game Time says:

          @ Laker Nation, Lebron has one of the most famous buzzer beaters in NBA history. If you knew anything about basketball outside Laker-Land you’d remember the 3 he hit to sink the pistons to get to the finals. As for Melo, that’s typical Laker fan logic going for the person who has the most points. Not looking at defense or anything else a player does on court. Also look at Melos’s team that year compared to James’s. There were at least five notable players (Andre Miller, Nene, Marcus Camby, Birdman, and Jon Barry) for Denver and James had Boozer, with who else? Yep that sounds like Laker fan-boy thinking. Give credit to the guy who shoots a lot and has a good supporting cast to make him look good.

          @Justin, you mean “bandwagon”? LMAO

    38. guhit (go HEAT) says:

      oohh..another MVP award for LBJ…go HEAT….

    39. Eman Ancajas says:

      Oh My !!!!!!!!

    40. RR says:

      If you think Lebron is all that, sounds like you need to get a room with Lebron.