LeBron As Efficient As Ever In Opener




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MIAMI – For a guy who claims not to have slept much Saturday night, LeBron James looked remarkable Sunday night, refreshed even, for the start of the Miami Heat’s defense of their NBA title.

And no, it had nothing to do with the designer red sweater he wore to the postgame media gathering after James and the Heat demolished the Milwaukee Bucks 110-87 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

A restless LeBron looks a lot like the same uber-efficient LeBron we’ve seen all season, and particularly in his past 10 games. James is shooting a staggering 70 percent from the floor and 57 percent from behind the 3-point line. While everyone else plays at game speed, James continues to play at his own speed. It’s not breaking news that he flirted with a triple-double Sunday night … he does that on the regular. It’s the way he does it, making it look easy, that makes you pause.

He needed just 11 shots, making nine of them, to pile up his game-high 27 points. The 10 rebounds and eight assists, nearly each and every one of them a momentum-shifter in one way or another, completed his performance.

“He really just let the game come to him,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He facilitated quite a bit for us. He was creating triggers a lot of times by setting screens and generated a lot of offense just by doing that. It was a very mature, high IQ game. Yeah, that’s about as an efficient as you can get. He made that look easier than it was.”

James has a knack for doing exactly that, making it look easier than it was. Sunday marked the 13th time in his career that he has finished a playoff game with those numbers, the most of any player in NBA history.

“When [James] has a game like that, what can you do?” Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. “I thought Luc Mbah a Moute and Marquis Daniels battled him well. The guy is the best player in the world right now, so what can you do?”

A calm and composed James can nitpick his own work, highlighting his five turnovers and the Heat’s 19 that resulted in 22 points for the Bucks, who will get another dose of this in Game 2 Tuesday night.

“That is the disappointing thing for us,” James said, “The 19 turnovers and 22 points. A lot of those 19 turnovers were careless, including myself, I had five. You know how I am about turning the ball over. I had five of them and three or fourth of them were careless and unforced. We can’t allow that to happen.”

Actually, you can. When you have a bench, powered by Ray Allen‘s 20 points and Chris “Birdman” Andersen‘s 10, capable of producing 43 points, to the Bucks’ 25, you can get away with a little sloppiness in your playoff opener. You can get away with it when superstars like Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can play complementary roles to the most efficient and dynamic player in basketball.

“He’s in playoff mode,” Wade said of James. “We love him in that mode. Now he is focused on his goal. His goal is to dominate every game and help take this team to a championship.”

Having done it once before, you might assume that this playoff journey would stand out to James above others. But that’s not his way, not his frame of mind for this postseason. He said before the game that he couldn’t remember how he felt before Game 1 last year, so he couldn’t compare then and now. Truth be told, he has no desire to compare what was with what is or even what could be. Competing against his own ghost holds no appeal to James.

“I try to stay in the moment, to live in the moment,” he said.

And why wouldn’t he?

His next game always provides an opportunity to set a new standard or at least chase one that someone else set. He’s scored 25 or more points in 16 straight playoff games, and he kept that streak alive Sunday night with the fewest shot attempts in his playoff career. Shooting 82 percent from the floor, of course, makes these sorts of things possible in LeBron’s world.

The Bucks found that out the hard way. They stayed close early thanks to Brandon Jennings (26 points on not-nearly-as-efficient 8-for-20 shooting) and kept fighting long enough for Monta Ellis (22 points on solid 10-for-19 shooting, though he was just 1-for-6 from deep) to get going, too.

And the Heat still won going away, with all of their turnovers tossed in for good measure, thanks to James.

It’s like Boylan said, when a guy has a game like that (and game like that), what do you do?

54 Comments

  1. king james says:

    wow so much hate?? man have u ever seen a guy play like lebron james? without him heats cud have never won the championship since the one with wade! without lebron james no one would be actually be praising the heats right now or would be the favorite to win it all! im not a heats fan but a lebron james fan even tho he messed up in the finals the year before they won he made up for his mistake by winning it all. lebron james is the god of basketball and wud be the best ever no matter how much rights he win becuz as we cud all say “wow” is he really from earth? this man is playing the greatest basketball ever. micheal jorden was great but in my opinion not the best. lebron james all day baby!

  2. ROD A says:

    I THINK YOU MEAN LEBRON MAKES THE LEAGUE LOOK WEAK WITH HIS PERFORMANCE HIS PERCENTAGE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LEAGUE HES JUST PRECISE AND ACCURATE .

  3. OC says:

    One year ago Metta World Peace elbowed James Harden.

    Heat will repeat.

  4. Dermel says:

    HEATNATION

  5. Dermel says:

    HEAT FOR REPEAT LEBRON IS THE BEST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE BETTER THEN KOBE HEAT FOR REPEaT HEAT WELL WIN IT ALL

  6. ene be a says:

    How can u say that lebron is playing whit little boys skip.? Remember the 06 pistons? U remember the 08 celtics? The 07 san antonio and detroitt, hist first ever playoffs series whit the wizards , a wizards team that was better than the cavs at the time. Psssssssssss, don’t u remember the 48 points vs detroit in the playoffs, and he score the last 29 , all 29 was clutch after clutch shot, and the most recent , his 45 vs boston last year. Remember the dunk over wallace plus the foul, how bout the one over KG the boston defnsive player of the year. And the number of time he has score the ball dunk over defensive players of the year, one like Tyson Chandler, how boutb the blocks , he blocks everyone from PG,SG,SF,PF,C. The blocks on Howard, KG, Carlos Boo. Mannn, Lebron is the greatest player ever allready, sorry jordan I know u win 6 rings and everything, but lebron is playing better than you do once.

  7. acryn says:

    best player in the world lebron james how many coahes said that including others?period

  8. boston rules says:

    oh look NBA riding that lebron and heat bandwagon for the 9000th time

  9. Jeman says:

    I can’t wait to see Kd vs LJ in the finals. I will enjoy every single play of the best players in the world.

  10. LALALA says:

    Im a lebron fan. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LEBRON FAN AND A HEAT FAN. Haters.

  11. lenny says:

    injuries injuries injuries they’ve eascaped so far. they better win because i’m sure its not only bosh who will cry this time.
    they’ve put themselves on a pedestal and so the pressure comes with it. I hope they all are exhibition games that goes in their favor. like their coach said

  12. I Think Lebron has the talent to actually become the greatest of all time. Correct me If I’m wrong. He has a top 3 PER of all time.

  13. I Think Lebron has the talent to actually become the greatest of all time. Correct me If I’m wrong.

  14. usbuck says:

    LeBron is the GOAT!

  15. Thunder, the, fudge, up! says:

    Best player we have in the NBA right now. If James left the Heat, they would be playing like the nets.

  16. reynol pers says:

    I got my tickets already for the LIV PARTY at in the beach for this years bash as the NBA CHAMOS AGAIN

  17. Andrés Nicolás says:

    Lbj! Increible… 2013 es su año!… Otra vez!

  18. Patty says:

    I AM SICK OF LEBRON JAMES. THE MEDIA GIVES HIM TO MUCH PRESS.

    THIS GUY IS NOT MICHAEL JORDAN OR KOBE BRYANT.

    THE LEAGUE IS WEAK AND THIS IS WHY LEBRON JAMES IS WINNING.

  19. Brian Alface says:

    Wade forgot to add something on Lebron’s MODE..He is in the playoff mode right now which means from now on you have to call him LeHULK James…The more you criticise him the more angry he gets and more undefHEATed he becomes…
    The Beast Mode…

  20. Pride says:

    i dont think anyone is stopping them.

  21. egyptian heat fan says:

    Sunday marked the 13th time in his career that he has finished a playoff game with those numbers, the most of any player in NBA history…
    He’s scored 25 or more points in 16 straight playoff games..

    enough said
    long live the king … MVP 4 ever

  22. ene be a says:

    Is Lebron James game more efficient and perfect than Michael Jordans game? … YES it is.
    I respect Jordans game ,but hey… its what it issssss.

  23. ene be a says:

    Is Lebron James game more efficient and perfect than Michael Jordans game? … YES it is.

  24. showbaba Canada says:

    @ Sam you said Lebron is overrated, what is the definition of overrated? I think you are a volleyball fans not basketball. Go get a sleep while we enjoy Lebron’s game.

  25. Paul says:

    To Sam:

    Buddy, that comment is quite inaccurate. There are periods in the game where neither Bosh nor Wade are in the court but Miami’s bench / role players and regardless, he will still excel in his approaches to the rim or moving the basketball to find the best available player in the court. There have been complete games where James played without Wade and Bosh.

    Miami simply has the best roster of the NBA and the best player of the NBA, period. Lebron will do his thing with or without the other super stars in the court.

    The ugly truth is there, Sam.. Lebron overrated? Far from it… The same happened to Jordan and Kobe back in the days they played their best basketball that noone could contest.. the best player will always be hated by the fans of the others teams.. HATERS GONNA HATE!! LET’S GO HEAT!!

  26. Heat fan says:

    Everyone just relax and enjoy watching the best player in the world at the peak of his career. We might not get this chance again for a long time! When is the last time we had a player that could even be mentioned in the same conversaton with Jordan? Well, this might be it.

  27. THE HARD FACTS says:

    the only way the heat don’t win a championship in 2013 is if lebron gets hurt

  28. sam says:

    LeBron is overrated. Obviously puts up good numbers, but look at the superstars he plays along side. Its hard to double team him because then Bosh, Wade or one of their catch and shoot players (Allen, Miller, Lewis etc) will be wide open.

    • Luis says:

      Jordan played with Scotty and Dennis…. and had players like steve kerr hittin outside three’s. Is Jordan overrated too?

      • sam says:

        yes he is overrated. Many question whether Pippen should have been elected into the hall of fame. i think that Pippen doesnt get the credit he should because of Jordan. They think Jordan made Pippen a good player. I think its the other way around. dont get me wrong, Jordan is the best, but overrated.

    • babymoney says:

      remember the cavs?(or did you just start watching basketball in the last 3years?) they were pretty good too, and they didnt have that much talent. he just makes his teams good and makes it look so easy, that it becomes easy to overlook the effect he has. he the best!!! THE KING

    • Jon says:

      Lebron is overrated…what? If you took lebron off the heat, they wouldn’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs. You put lebron on any team in the nba they instantly become championship contenders. Name another player in the nba that has that kind of impact….and please….please don’t say kevin durant. Because you always have to match a durant with a westbrook, a kobe with a howard, lebron doesn’t need dwade or bosh. You put lebron on any solid, fundamentally sound, defensive set team and he takes care of the rest.

    • Tom says:

      Did you already forget what he used to do in Cleveland, where he was all alone without any other superstar ?

    • CAN'T BLAME THEM FOR GOOD MANAGEMENT says:

      I like haters like you , its just shows how stupid your comments are and how much of loser you are. You know damn well if LeBron was in your team , he wouldn’t be “overrated” as you say. No one can blame Pat Riley for surrounding their greatest player with top notch support, iT’S CALLED WINNING A RING BABY WHILE YOU HATERS JUST CRY AWAY WITH YOUR IGNORANCE

    • Saeed says:

      I do not think so. Maybe Jordan is overrated but LeBron is not.
      Look at last year’s inefficient, and I really mean inefficient, players he had to play with in the Eastern Conference finals.
      He won game 6 by himself. He had a way inefficient Bosh and no SOLID size on his team.
      In that game 6, he forced Pierce in early foul trouble, and Bosh partially helped to take a little attention of Garnet away from the rim at both ends of the floor. And Wade, he was very inefficient and not athletic (He was injured), but still won game 6 by himself.
      In the finals, the heavily armed, way bigger-sized and deep OKC lost to the short-handed Miami with only Chris Bosh playing well and a few role players partially like Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier (their bench still was disgusting except Mike Miller in a clinching game 5)

  29. holyspectator says:

    yeah this year is definitely a wrap….back to back titles for south beach…i cant seem to logically comprehend how other fans think miami will lose? i suppose the hate is strong in their minds which block sensible thinking…

  30. SPARTACUS says:

    miami heat will get it this year…… i know they will…… lebron james keeps improving his game…… HATERS GONNA HATE….

  31. tanibanana says:

    The way they play… the Heat can aim sweep from Bucks to OKC in the Finals..
    LeBron is a Monster!!!

  32. Branaun says:

    Wowwww only 3 comments……..Lebron and the Heat must really not be that loved…..boooo Lebron…..booo the Heat

  33. Tomer says:

    the best team in the NBA right now. Can’t think of any team winning best-of-7 series against them. the 2nd quarter was kind of disappointing…teams like new york or okc can use it.
    but as it seems now, this all playoff is about who will lose to the Heat in the finals.
    The Heat deserve to be the champs once again.

  34. sally says:

    They are the BEST and they are going to go all the way to the top again this year. Everybody knows that they are just afraid to say it. ………………….GO HEAT !!!

  35. sanjay says:

    good luck when lebron start dunking going to the post wit the left hand( no body saw that coming!). And the “bird” got the legs and wings back now to fly…!

  36. Jack says:

    NOTHING!! you might just say AWWW!! how could i stop this guy from going?..best thing to do is just watch and enjoy what your guys can do to defend him,..he is tough really tough..70% fg dominant, and you can not do anything with that!

    • and yet there are many people that doesn’t think he is the best right now…not only is he currently the best but he has VERY good teammates as well….nothing you can do to stop them…wow

    • LakersWillWin says:

      Man if Bron takes continues this play in the Post-Season and the Heat can avoid injury from key players like Wade Bron Bosh Chalmers? There just isn’t a team that can beat them. The ONLY team that has a chance is the Pacers, but they just don’t have enough fire power. Maybe if Paul George puts up Triple Doubles every night, but Miami is ROLLIN!

      -Sad Lakers Fan (PS LA is still going to beat San Antonio. mark my words)