LeBron’s Burden Is Living Up To Himself


VIDEO:Rockets cool off LeBron, snap Heat’s eight-game winning streak

 

HOUSTON — The last player to score at least 61 points on back to back nights in the NBA did it more than half a century ago.

The only player. Wilt Chamberlain.

Back on Feb. 27-28, 1962, Wilt dropped 65 on the beaks of the St. Louis Hawks and then hit the Chicago Zephyrs with 61.

One of the few people on the planet who could understand just how difficult a feat that was, leaned back onto the chair in front of his locker about an hour before game time Tuesday night and yawned.

“I’m extremely tired right now,” said LeBron James. “I’m very tired … I’ll try to find energy somewhere.”

It was a fruitless search.

The night after he made 22 of 33 shots — including a white-hot 8-for-10 from behind the 3-point line — and treated the game as if it were his own personal yo-yo on a string, James managed to shoot just 1-for-7 in the second half and didn’t score at all in the fourth quarter of Miami’s 106-103 loss to the Rockets.

It was the bite of the long, excruciating, debilitating schedule that caught up to the Heat after eight consecutive wins and it took the biggest chomp out of LeBron.

Twenty four hours earlier he had roamed and ruled the court like a masked superhero who seemed able to do just about anything but fly. Here was the price one pays — even so supremely talented a one — when the spotlight is turned off and the muscles feel the burn and the strain.

Outside the visiting locker room about an hour before tipoff, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra shrugged off the after-effects of scoring 61 points on James.

“He’s in his absolute youth and prime in his career,” Spoelstra said. “At this stage of his career he could probably play 40 minutes a night every single night.”

Of course, Spoelstra just coached and watched and occasionally bent down to pick his jaw up off the floor.

It was James who spent all of that energy being brilliant and transcendent, even if he did make it look so easy.

So when James was asked how he spent his roughly 20 hours of down time between games, he didn’t have to think long.

“We had a meeting and I slept,” he said. “I got in last night and slept. We had a meeting this morning and I slept again.”

After the kind of dominating, amazing month he just completed in February, you figure that James probably needs to hibernate like a bear until the start of the playoffs in April if the Heat are going to make a run at a three-peat.

But that’s not the way the hungry NBA schedule works. It keeps coming at you with jaws wide open.

“I’ll find energy,” James said again. “There’s no excuse. If I’m in the lineup, I’ll find it.”

Indeed, he pushed and he prodded himself through the first half, mostly looking like a guy trying to slog through mud.

James scored his first bucket on a driving layup and then was given credit for a bucket when Chandler Parsons was called for goaltending on a finger roll.

A minute later when Mario Chalmers tipped away a Dwight Howard pass to start a fast break, Dwyane Wade had the ball in the middle of the court, took one look at a bedraggled-looking James laboring to his right and simply took the ball all the way to the hoop himself.

He was LeBron that all the Heat jerseys in the Houston crowd came to see on back-to-back dunks and, even after a listless third quarter, he cavalierly tossed in a 28-foot turnaround bank shot over Parsons that seemed to beat the horn. But checking video replays, the referees ruled the shot late and no good.

One night everything you toss up in the direction of the basket finds the bottom of the net and the next you can’t catch a bring with a fling and a prayer. Even if you do finish 9-for-18 with 22 points and six assists.

For the Rockets, it was one of those measuring-stick games, the kind a young club needs to reinforce that it is on the right path.

For the Heat, it was simply the next stop on the world tour where everybody expects you to play all of your greatest hits and never sound a wrong note.

For James, it was the burden that comes from being the master in his prime and always having to live up to none other than yourself.

“I fought through it in the first half,” he said. “Second half it just wasn’t there for me. I got out of rhythm.”

Jumpers clanked off the rim. Drives came up just short. He went 0-for-3 in the fourth quarter and didn’t score a point.

When the Heat had one last chance to tie the game in the final 13 seconds, he couldn’t make a play and wound up heaving a desperate 3-point try over the long arms of Dwight Howard.

“I felt like I had a good look,” James said, “just a little low.”

Like his energy level. It’s hard to shoot through a yawn.

Of everyone in the Toyota Center, only one guy could imagine what it would take to do what he did the night before all over again. That’s where his career is these days, using only history as a reference point.

“No,” James said. “That’s extreme. You’ve got to be physically in shape, of course, and just have complete dominance on everybody that’s out there. Wilt was so much more dominant than everybody else that it’s not surprising … It’s not surprising at all.”

Except maybe what Wilt did two nights after he went back to back for that 65 and 61.

He scored 100.


VIDEO: The Starters take a closer look at LeBron’s 61-point night

51 Comments

  1. cp10 says:

    It takes two Lebrons to make one Wilt :)

  2. jeffreyhopkins says:

    it won’t win you a title lebron, you need an update to your superteam, trade the old wade and cole for tony parker and leonard, BINGO

    • calvin says:

      First, I seriously doubt the Spurs are open to trades with Miami and second, why in the world would Miami trade D Wade for Parker?? He has been hurt all year… pretty much irrelevant… Spurs are squeaking by in the overrated West coast, but it is doubtful they will make it out of the 2nd round.

  3. lebronjameisweak says:

    As an NBA player you should never make the excuse and say you are tired, that’s the difference between lebron james and kobe bryant, lebron james is soft, he gets elbowed in the nose and sits out the next game, no concussion or nothing, his nose hurts so he sat out. he scores a 61 point game and is tired, kobe dropped 40 points in nine consecutive games. the difference here is not really talent, its work ethic. all these lebron james fans are simply delusional, yeah he is playing great now but mark my words lebron James will not be in the league as long as kobe is, he doesn’t have the heart for it, he is to soft. he is part of the new era of basketball players. lebron James fan-boys are truly blind, they cant see that his game is built so that so long as he is in his youth he will play well, what happens when he gets older do you really think he will still be as good? besides his speed and strength what else does he have to carry him in the nba? Footwork, finesse, a jump shot? all things he lacks to last in the nba, all the greats had it or developed it, lebron james has the same game he entered the league with, doing the same thing he was doing when he played for the cavs. he hasnt go any better the only thing that has improved is his cofidence which allows him to do or play a lil bit better. if you dont belleive me watch a cavs game with lebron on it and watch a recent miami game, and you will see its the same thing. he is good for right now, but thats as far as it goes.

    • whatthe?!? says:

      LeBron’s only 29 yrs old,been in the league for 11 years now and still in his prime..what makes you think he wont last?!? i guess you can do better and last longer than LeBron in the NBA right?!? got mad respect for Kobe’s game and accomplishments but you have to accept the fact that it is LeBron’s time now..

    • Shaq says:

      This is why Eric Spoelstra is no Phil Jackson. He supposed to pull Lebron out early in the fourth quarter but instead left him playing longer than he needed to. Sacraficed the whole team’s effort for one player’s personal record. He couldve saved the energy for Lebron to play against a possible Final rounds team. A good solid game against the Rockets after 45pts game wouldve been more sweet then 61pt against a weak team and a poor performance against the Rockets.

  4. iota says:

    No one points out that on an off night, where Lebron plays “poorly”, he’s at 9-18, 6ast, 3stl
    and that’s playing poorly…….

    How many player in the league beats this “off” night?
    It tells you how good this guy is, and how people take his greatness for granted.

  5. okckd35 says:

    Wow so yesterday everything was about how great LBJ is. Then today theres an excuse article cuz hes tired? Awwwww how cute. Get off the heat jock. They dont even have the best record playing in a weak conference.

    • krishawn-MIA says:

      Aint like he said well hey I’m tired so I can’t be great or I’m tired so we aren’t gonna win or I’m tired so I can’t put up monster numbers…he jus said…I’m tired -_- aint like he made an excuse the man just said….I’m tired!!! Wtf is rong with this generation, everything he says or does gets overblown or thrown out of context…again…”I’m tired-i’ll find energy” man if that was kobe ppl would have been praisin him for tryin to find the energy geesh

  6. Da Beast says:

    LeBron saying he’s tired is ridiculous. He chose to continue playing when the game was basically in the bag so that he could up KD in the MVP race. Too bad for him, KD came out with 42 points in 3 quarters, 16-20 shooting. He did it for himself and then he makes excuses about being tired. I understand LeBron is a very good player, but I hate how many excuses he makes about everything. He needs to man up. He’s too soft.

  7. MaFox says:

    Where LBJ the poster. I miss his exceptional insight into trades.

  8. thespectator says:

    why are people getting worked up about which player scored what and how they scored it? its the nba, its not an everyday occurrence these players drop that many points in a game…and when they do we should celebrate it and cherish the moment in time…many of the people here prolly never watched a game via in the arena or on tv from wilt or magic, maybe some havent seen mj, bird, etc…but when you see great players like a kobe or lebron kd etc, drop crazy amount of points, you gotta marvel at it…respect it and move on…not bash on it? and then on top of that people who are makin these dumb comparisons and unnecessary breakdowns are not even worthy of doing so? lol when will these blogs ever have mature intellectual posters? you see em here and there, but its just too many haters..quit hating man jeez…but back to the point…the were on an 8 game win streak and just didnt have enough left in the tank for last nights game…regroup and get the W for the next one..race to number 1 seed is still on!

  9. kobeballhog says:

    kobe highest IQ? lmao! greatest ballhog that is, these kobe fanboys keep bringing up 81 points, who cares is it even 100 lol? if thats how you wanna play it, we dont care if kobe scores 81 or even 100 its who he is a ballhog so he should score that much, puuuhleez kobe fanboys stop brining up a wash up wannabe MJ in these threads.

    • laker says:

      at least he didnt have to jump ship and join 2 all stars to win title…if u r the king people join u

      • Anthony is shaking his head at heat fans that aren't knowledgable about basketball says:

        last i checked the Lakers were trash until Gasol got there, everyone needs help. the cavs weren’t able to put the pieces around him for him to win a championship. you are the most ignorant poster I’ve read today.

      • whatthe?!? says:

        agreed^^ remember Kobe once tried to force a trade to the Bulls and he was forcing the LAKERS to trade Bynum for jason Kidd?!? do great players do that?!?

  10. Faba says:

    I dont get it, why lebron is coming up with excuses like he was too tired. He had a good look and missed the three point attempt thats it. He was never known as a clutch player anyway. Its like everybody has forgotten that it was Ray allen who won for the Heat the championship last year not lebron.

    • Destiny Fashek says:

      Ray Allen sent it to over time lebron got them back in the game. In ot lebron and bosh got them the win. Last time I checked it went to game 7 and lebron clutched it. You wouldn’t know because you don’t have a tv.

    • Anthony is shaking his head at these posters who know nothing about the game of basketball says:

      so the gamewinners in Cleveland are forgotten? What about the game against Detroit where he scored 25 straight and the gamewinning layup to carry that cavs team to the finals??????? How can you say that? ya’ll people amaze me.

  11. Big Daddy says:

    Hater! 4 MVP’s and 2 RINGS! OUCH that got to hurt!

  12. wash up kobe says:

    Another fun fact on kobe’s 63 in 3 quarter game. He got 25! free throws in 3 quarters as the whole Mavs team got 30 in 4 quarters.

    true conversation before Mavs game
    Stern: Hey, if anyone breath at kobe then you gotta whistle! Or how else can kobe get those points? He ain’t no MJ!
    Refs X 3: Gotcha!

  13. wash up kobe says:

    Kobe wasn’t tired because 19 of his points came from the line! And there’s no next game after that. Kobe never made his teamates better. His teamates carried him through game 7. 8-27 game 7? Clutch? His 81 game was against raptors with no good defender and obviously noone can touch kobe as he got 20 free throws! The whole raptors team got 27 free throws! Lebron free throw number on 61 was 9-12.

    I love crushing Kobe fan boys. Btw how’s your Fakers doing?

    • Tyon says:

      Its kind of called … REBUILD! you idiot. and let me gues you a bandwagon?

      • haha says:

        awwwie wash wrong?? cause he only won2 legit rings…
        the rest were shaq’s. he had 3 great years, the rest he was one of very good players, THATS It
        man up and accept the facts

    • Lakers' fanboy says:

      Yeah dude, kobe was probably favorrrred….U were obviously not watching the game live since you sit on your couch and hate kobe all day. He was aggressive all game. taking the ball to the hole with every move he got possible. When a player is in his zone he is in it. if anyone get touch nowaday is a foul on the way to the hole….plz it is the new NBA system…same with lebron he gets alot of calls too. deal with it this aint the 80s or 90s no more.

  14. backtoreality says:

    What a joke, Kevin Durant is the real beast. Lebrons 61 and Kobes 81 were both against bad teams. KDs 54 was on the second night of back to back, Rockets then Golden State Warrior, aagainst a very good team and shot a better % then Lebron, yet all i see is kobe vs lebron talk. If anyone is gonna beat Kobes 81 it would be KD but i dont see it happening because he isnt out for himself, how many games has he had 30 – 40 pts and sat out the whole last quarter. Its time for Lebrons love fest to be over because KD just keeps getting better and better without losing that humbleness that makes ya love the guy

    • hak says:

      the bobcats has the 6th best defence in the league do your research before you talk

    • Marcus says:

      Scoring 50+ points in a game against any team is impressive if you win the game
      I don’t care if it’s Lebron,Kobe,KD,or a bench warmer it’s impressive if you get the W man

  15. md9 says:

    Just stop hasten on the king

  16. Lebron SO DUMB says:

    It’s not an excuse to be tired after scoring 61 points! Kobe never complained of being tired even after scoring 81 points against a better team Toronto before compared to the Bobcats that James took his 61 points.. LOL! If you’re planning to beat the 81 points Lebron just put it in your dreams.. at 61 you’re getting tired already what for 81 points?! LOL!

    That’s why a lot of people choose Kobe over Lebron.. Kobe has the highest I.Q. among the great players.. Lebron didn’t foresee the effect and It’s not an excuse to say you’re tired because you scored 61 points for your popularity!! it’s very clear Lebron is not looking for his team to win, he’s looking only for his own popularity.. MAKE 61 POINTS IN A WEAK TEAM AND JEOPARDIZED THE NEXT GAME BECAUSE HE SAID HE’S TIRED?! LOL! Yeah Lebron your an MVP JOKE!!..

    • jeff says:

      um.. first: kobe scored 81 in a season where the lakers had 0 hopes of winning a title. that season was a mess and kobe could go on random scoring rampages just for fun. lebron just had 3 finals appearances and 2 back-to-back championships separated by leading USA to olympic gold. furthermore, he is scoring at 57% this season (basically unheard of), doing it with dwyane wade missing a significant amount of games, and getting it done with very few turnovers.

      any of the modern wing greats can (or could have) score(d) 81 on any night: MJ, Kobe, LeBron, KD. they choose not to because it doesn’t guarantee a win. winning is more important. i’m pretty sure the miami heat are winning a lot. chill out homie.

    • jhear says:

      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). who’s weak now???

    • Grobie says:

      I’m not a Lebron fan, but I respect the guys game. Honestly, from what you just stated about lebron, it’s obvious that you’re not an athlete, and if you are, then you’re obviously not an athlete heavily relied on by your team. So you have no business insulting a guy for being tired carrying a team through an 82 game season not just 2 games, it just happened to take its toll now

    • U a foo says:

      When Kobe jacked up those 81 points he had been exited early in the first round and missed playoff for consecutive years u d rider whereas lebron is on a 4 consecutive deep playoff run and MVP seasons along with Olympic basketball yet playing at an elite level yet you are an idiot laughing at him saying he’s tired hahahaha you are a fool

    • U a foo says:

      Btw you clown only delusional fanboys like u would pick Kobe over lebron as Kobe can’t even score 20 PTs on the league right now. Let me educate you fool, the raptors were on the bottom of the east that had the 29th worst defense whereas the bobcats are a playoff team with the 6th best defense in the league moron, which team do you think was best now? Lebron said he is tired cuz they are on a 8 game road trip and back to back u fool learn some basketball before you make yourself look stupid.

    • U a foo says:

      On top of that, did you read the article you clown? Wilt scored 60+ back to back and the. 100 yet you bragging about Kobe you delusional moron hahahahahahs

    • Taekwondo says:

      Wow another hater hating when the best player in the world scored 61 and he played poorly in the next game
      how do you know he scored 61 just to be popular??dont be delusional with your pathetic theory, do you know they had tight schedule before the play against rockets??even though he is a great athlete doesnt me he has all the stamina to score 40 plus, even the GOAT michael jordan rarely scored back to back 60 points.

    • Laker Fan says:

      What are you talking about? :)) Kobe scored 81 against a weak raptors team. At least Charlotte is 6th in defensive efficiency this season. Better back up your statements before posting Lebron Hater.

    • Some guy says:

      Says the guy who trolls behind his computer all day..

    • Pakyaw says:

      Kobe has the highest I.Q.. Hahaha your a funny kid.. Basketball 101 , past the ball to open guy, basic basketball I.Q..

    • timpson says:

      Lol he is

    • heat says:

      you need to read what you just said, you are defenitly a hater and you wreck the game

    • Hater danger says:

      Someone’s a hater, I don’t see you putting up those points yourself. Your probably some fat white bandwagoner who has no life.

    • Rod says:

      Spot on man! He’s always been on a personal mission. Too big of a ego.

    • wdrums0 says:

      Wow…hate much bro?

    • BLAH BLAH says:

      hey man, he said he’s tired an hour before the game.

    • krishawn-MIA says:

      You do realize that everything you said is really stupid right?! The raports at that time was not a better team btw, with no disrespect to Kobe Lebron’s I.Q is probly the highest out of all the greats its probly why he can do so much more than throw up a lot of shoits per game…and he’s not looking for his team to win?! Really?! He’s so scrutinized that if they don’t win he’s gonna get crucified from the media and fansl from now on anything you say on this site has been been prematurely discredited and voided!

    • Destiny Fashek says:

      Wow this is funny this guy is up 1:53 am talking about lebron scored 61 and lost by a top 5 west team with d Howard and harden which is superstars. Kobe scored 81 against a 29th place defensive team and the lakers wasn’t even top 5 in the nba. Lebron don’t worry about his team but always had the heats in top 3 in the nba. So fan boy of Kobe when was the last time lakers was in the first seed.