So are you still worried that he’s lost a step? LeBron James had the 12th 50-point game of his storied NBA career — and first such game with the Lakers — in a scorching 51-point performance in the team’s 113-97 win over the Miami Heat. His jumper was immaculate, allowing him to exert relatively little energy considering his incendiary production.
Let’s take a closer look at a dominant night in his former South Beach stomping grounds.
LeBron is practically impossible to stop if his step-back jumper is working for him as it was on Sunday night, and it’s beautiful in its simplicity. He’s going to step back and to the left when he shoots it. LeBron knows it. His defender knows it. LeBron knows his defender knows it. And it doesn’t matter.
If the defender tries to cheat toward the stepback to LeBron’s left, he’s giving up a straight-line drive to LeBron’s right. If the defender plays up on him, it’s a straight-line drive in either direction. Lou Williams has made a career on this similarly devastating shoot-left/drive-right binary, but he isn’t 6’8”, 260 pounds.
As James’ fellow members of the 2003 NBA Draft class fade into the twilight of their Hall of Fame careers, James is averaging 28.8 points per game on 52.0 FG% and 39.6% from 3-point range in what is shaping up to be another MVP-caliber season. He’s now played 54,902 minutes in his NBA career between the regular season and playoffs, which is the 9th-most in NBA history. His production level at that degree of mileage is nothing short of unprecedented.
Because of James’ talent level, it’s also unsurprising.