The Numbers Behind James’ 61

VIDEO: Relive LeBron’s historic 61-point performance 

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — LeBron James established himself as the best player in the world about six years ago. He carried the Cleveland Cavaliers to the best record in the league two years in a row, moved to Miami, got to The Finals three times, and won two championships.

This season, Carmelo Anthony set a new Madison Square Garden record, Kevin Durant has put up 40-plus on a regular basis, and Terrence Ross (Terrence Ross?) dropped 51. And as all these other guys were putting up big scoring numbers, you realized that it had been almost nine years since the league’s best player had established his career high of 56 points, a number less than the career highs of guys like Gilbert Arenas, Michael Redd, Jerry Stackhouse and Deron Williams.

Well, James went and got his on Monday, dropping 61 on the Bobcats, the same team that surrendered Melo’s 62 less than six weeks ago. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Charlotte is the first team to allow more than one 60-point game in the same season since 1962.

Here’s James’ shot chart, which includes just one bucket from the right side of the floor …


Here’s the video of all 22 of his field goals.

A few more thoughts and numbers…


  1. okc2014 says:

    Lebron James had an excellent night. Don’t worry Kevin Durant, the ball is still in your hands. You will get the trophy. Keep going like your going. OKC2014.

  2. cp10 says:

    It was the mask

  3. M-W-PEECCH says:

    Kobe scored 61 in an AWAY game & turns the crowd in his favor
    Lebron needs to get pumpy with fans + that dribble so slow
    Indiana or OKC will knock that three peat right out of South Beach

  4. Kome says:

    Kobe needs refs help for 61. 20-20 free throws.
    Needs help to get 81/ 18-20 free throws. whole raptors team got 27 free throws.

    LBJ got 61 and ft was 9-12. No help from ref, respect true 61.

  5. Zac says:

    scoring 50+ points in the NBA depends not on individual skill, but on the opposing coach.

    if you score 20 in the first quarter and the opposing coach calls double teams on you every time you touch the ball in quarters 2-4, no way you’re gonna hit 50. a lot of great players could hit 50+ if they had not been doubled.

  6. Peter says:

    Nice to do this against the Bob Cats, whose owner, Michael Jordan, has been so critical of Lebron. So sweet!

  7. Junie says:

    There sure are a lot of Heat fans. The real question is how many of y’all were Heat fans before y’all jumped on Lebron’s nuts and had him carry you to South Beach? Prior to that, were you Cavaliers fans??

    • Chunk says:

      Show’s what you know. I actually followed Bosh there from Toronto.

    • ?????? says:

      People keep on bringing this “bandwagon fan” thing up with regards to lebron. If you were a fan of lebron in Cleveland, why wouldn’t you be a fan of lebron in Miami? It doesn’t mean you were a Cavaliers fan and now you’re a Heat fan just because it’s popular to be so. I’ve been a lebron fan from his cleveland days and am still a lebron fan now that he’s on the heat. That’s loyalty to a player and not just to some arbitrary moniker (a team) that may have ever-changing parts that you’re supposed to force yourself to support. I see nothing wrong with it, and, in a lot of ways, it’s a more logical form of basketball loyalty than being loyal to what is essentially a business.

      • Zac says:

        actually, basketball is a team sport last time i checked. so i guess fans support teams just because of that.

      • ?????? says:

        But that’s in line with my point. Lebron is a team player and makes the team better when he’s on the court. I wasn’t saying that you should only like individual players and not teams, but I shouldn’t be made to feel bad if I’m no longer a fan of the cavaliers after Lebron leaves. Since he left, I haven’t been a fan of how Cleveland has been playing basketball, so why would I continue to support them (I mean emotionally, not financially…I’m from Toronto)? While in Miami, Lebron has been the court leader of the Heat for at least the past 2.5 seasons, and has run a very good team. The only team that I have been a fan of for my entire life has been San Antonio.

        Essentially, the point was that there is a difference between liking a team because it’s the popular thing at the moment and liking a team because they play basketball the way I like, which Lebron brings to the table. Also, I don’t think that I should be forced to be loyal to a team that hasn’t earned my loyalty. If San Antonio goes through a few tough years after Timmy and Pop leave, I will continue to support them because they have shown a dedication to greatness even though the supporting cast has been rotated frequently. Alternatively, my hometown team has had some good years, but they also have consistently made moves that baffle me, and have done nothing to convince me that they should have my support when they put together a terrible team. The idea of being loyal to a team just because you have chosen to support them arbitrarily (as is the case with the majority of hometown support), makes absolutely no sense to me. It is a childish way of thinking.

    • Esteban says:

      I was a Heat fan when it was: Hardaway, Leonard, Mashburn, PJ Brown & Morning; Dan Majerle (6th man). Until 2000 it was a playoffs 1st round team. Then, the worst era until Wade and Shaq. If you ask me, Wade is Miami Heat, not Lebron. I started to love Lebron after the lost vs Dallas, after that, he became the best player of the world.

  8. Game Time says:

    Kobrick followers mad.

  9. Math says:

    To compare Kobe’s 81 to Lebron’s 61

    The Heat beat a Charlotte Bobcats team with a record of 27-33 (.450), the Lakers beat a Toronto Raptor’s team with a record of 14-27 (.341).

    Lebron James (22/33, 8/10 3p, 9/12 ft) took 13 less shots than Kobe Bryant (28-46, 7-13 3p, 18-20 ft) and shot a higher percentage from the field (+5%).

    If Lebron took 13 extra shots, would he have scored more than Kobe Bryant? We can’t know Lebron would continue scoring with the same efficiency, so we will calculate this hypothetical with a slight drop in efficiency.

    Shooting as efficiently as he did during the game, Lebron would make 8.58 out of those 13 extra shots. If he only makes 7, that’s a loss of about 18% in field goal percentage.

    Lebron took 10 3’s out of 33 shots (.303), shooting 8-10 (.800). Out of his 13 extra shots, 3.93 would likely be 3’s. We’ll round down to 3 though. Carrying over his loss of efficiency, he would likely make 2 (a loss of 13.3%).

    So since two of his 7 made shots would be 3-pointers, that would give him 16 extra points excluding free throws (5*2=10, 3*2=6, 6+10=16).

    This is where it gets tricky for Lebron. Kobe went to the foul line 12 more times on 13 more shots. Given Lebron’s current rate, shooting those 13 shots would only earn him an additional 4.7 (.36% of his shots earned a free throw) free throws. Whether you round up or down here would likely give Lebron 3 or 4 more points (shooting 3/4 maintains his current FT %, shooting 4/5 would increase it by 5%). So Lebron gets 3 (19 more points) or 4 (20 more points) more points.

    19 additional points on 13 shots gives Lebron 80 points, 20 gives him 81.

    • Jay says:

      No matter how long you spend typing that out, 81 is still greater than 61, and 5 is still greater than 2. Basic math.

      • Game Time says:

        Kobe followers are mad. They have to fall back on the “Rings” defense. Like Lebron’s career is over. Anyhow last time I checked four MVPs says something much more about a individual player, as compared to only one. LMAO.

      • Math says:

        The previous post does not try to claim which performance was better, yet as soon as a comparison is made, Kobe fan boys start whining. Read the post again, then stop crying. If anything, the math here supports Kobe’s performance was of equal or greater caliber than Lebron’s. The point of this post was to show that the two performances are more comparable than people might think.

      • Pakyaw says:

        “Rings” defense, lol!, typical Kobe fan club..

  10. Mevlid Bektic says:

    So LBJ drops a career high and it’s over-rated? Come on all ready, this isnt 2005 lol

  11. Paul Friedericks says:

    Kobe 81
    Flawless Victory

  12. Non-Believer says:

    61 points, but only 12 FGs from outside the paint (most of them uncontested 3’s). Proof that he’s more of a physical freak than a well-rounded offensive scorer. Great performance, but can he still put up 30 ppg after he turns 33 or 34 like Kobe and Jordan?

  13. Number 13 says:

    Jefferson goes for 38 & 19 and then Lebron drops 61… Ouch.

  14. Number 13 says:

    Jefferson goes for 38 & 19 and then Lebron drops a 61 point bomb. Ouch.

  15. Zac says:

    records against the bobcats don’t count. d’oh.

    • theking0522 says:

      Records against the Raptors don’t count. So take away Kobrick’s 81. It doesn’t count

  16. ... says:

    Meh, it was against Charlotte. The same team that gave up 62 points against Carmelo. I’d be more impressed if he’d get at least a 40 against a great defensive team like Indiana. But meh, this isn’t really that great of a performance.

    • theking0522 says:

      Yes. Kobrick’s performance against the Raptors wasn’t great. It was against a very bad Raptors team

    • Game Time says:

      You mean like he ALREADY did to the Pacers in the playoffs? LMAO.

    • krishawn-MIA says:

      He did it already! @ indiana last year and let’s not forget @boston when they were gritty bfor and after he cam to miami! And in the playoffs! Ouch!!

  17. md9 says:

    The chosen one MVP

  18. Wow im a Indiana fan and when I see lebron play like this aswell with the heat playing well and keeping wade fresh and Boshes improved 3 ball and Oden playing decent mins and staying healthy, The Heat really start playing well after allstar break leading into playoffs- Heat are definetly favourites to win East. Indiana played more consistant all season but no other team can turn it on like the Heat!! also whens Bynum going to play?

  19. Armen says:

    HELL YEAH!!!
    LBJ 4 LIFE!
    3 PEAT!
    61 4 LIFE!

  20. bernardo says:

    overrated performance, a lot of controversy surrounding the game