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LeBron’s Night

March 22, 2018 - 12:04 pm
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So much of the attention on LeBron James is about what happens next. Stay in Cleveland. Go to LA. Complete the Process in Philly. Or the one thing that could burn the league to the ground, go to Bay and gravy train Golden State for another ring or three. But all of that “what-comes-next” talk gets in the way of what’s happening right now. Every. Single. Night. And 15 seasons into it, at age 33, LBJ isn’t just the same killa he’s always been. He’s better.

We’ve always known this guy was a freak of the highest order. And that was before he was gaining the weight of a human head during a playoff game. But right now, we’re seeing one of the best to ever hoop, play better ball than he’s ever played. And he’s doing it without his head coach, with a built-on-the-fly supporting cast, and half his roster busted up and on ice. 71 games, 71 starts. 27 points, 9 dimes and 8 rips a game at the age of 33. That shouldn’t be humanly possible.

Look, I have absolutely no interest in hopping into that tired, played-out, Mount Rushmore of Lava debates about who was better, LeBron or MJ. But I will say this: At this age, 23 was already wearing 45. He had already traded the jumpman for the fadeaway jumper. But if you’ve been watching LeBron every night, you know he’s not trading any of his old tools in. He’s just adding new ones.

I mean, I thought the highlight of the week for The King would be the 40-12-and-10 he dropped on the Greek Freak, the first guy to go Four-Oh on Giannis. But then the King went and dialed up that absolute malice on our neighbors to the north. Toronto rolled into The Q the hottest team in the East. They rolled out on a gurney.

Cleveland 132, Toronto 129. The Raptors dropped 79 points in the first half and went to the break with a 15 point lead. And they still walked out with their souls in a doggy bag for the plane ride home. NBA teams were 45-and-0 since 1990 when scoring 79 points in the first half. Make that 45-1 now that LeBron’s done with them.

Check this stat-line if you’re looking for total domination: 35 points. 17 dimes. Seven boards. And the most important stat of all of them. Zero turnovers. If you’re wondering when the last time an NBA player had 35 points and 15 or more assists in a game with no turnovers, the answer is nobody’s really sure. Because the Elias Sports Bureau has been keeping track of that stat for 40 years and nobody’d ever done it until last night. Hell, the only 33-year-old to ever drop 17 dimes with no turnovers was Steve Nash. And Steve Nash was a point guard, not a 6-foot-8 superfreak that deserves his own superhero flick in the Marvel universe. LeBron wrapped his arms around Joe Thomas this week to congratulate a starting left tackle on a Hall of Fame NFL career and Joe Thomas was the small one. Wrap your head around that. What this guy can do and what he continues to do is bordering on insanity. Don’t believe me; listen to his interim head coach, Larry Drew, who’s been in the Association for almost four decades, “I’ve never seen anything like it…”

Look, crack this guy for his social game. Or his old-man sense of humor. Or the spotty salad on top of his dome. But never, ever crack this cat for what he does on the floor. Because basketball players aren’t supposed to age like this: they’re supposed age out.  He’ll tell you he’s aging like fine wine. Corny? Sure. But doesn’t bother me. I don’t drink wine. And he’s right. Dudes shouldn’t be doing what he’s doing every single night, regardless of age. Period. And they sure as hell shouldn’t be doing it/15 years in and not  with another couple extra seasons on his tires after the 7-year-run of NBA Finals and playing Team USA basketball.

And while I shouldn’t have to say this, the point remains: As long as the King’s on the court, the East runs through Cleveland. I know this Cleveland team isn’t as dangerous as some others he’s been on. I know they’re double-digit games back. I know they don’t have their head coach right now.  And that they’re busted up.  I just don’t’ care about any of that now.  Not the way he’s playing now.  They’re not what they were, but the other would be powers in the East all have their own questions to answer as well.   And if anyone can erase someone else’s home court advantage, it’s LeBron.  And you still have to beat this freak four times in 7 games to get out of the East.  You still have to put the King in the ground 4 times out of 7, and until I see someone in the east actually do it, I’m going to say it’s not happening. Not the way this guy is balling right now.  Cleveland you best be enjoying it, because this guy has never been better and you know he’s on the clock.  And when he does leave, this time, do not rush to the lighter fluid and you tube with your little bonfire of LeBron memorabilia: just thank the guy for bringing the one thing you never thought you’d see in your or your children’s lifetimes, a world championship.