This is why they don’t give MVP awards out in January.
LeBron James capped off his near triple-double Wednesday night (36-13-9) with a game-winning, fadeaway three pointer over Andre Iguodala to beat the Golden State Warriors 111-110 in Oakland. With the win, the Heat move to just 2.5 games behind the Indiana Pacers for first place in the East, and go into the All-Star break winning eight of their last 10 games.
With the loss, the Warriors – expected to be a dark horse contender in the West this season – fall to eight in the West just a game-and-a-half ahead of the surging Memphis Grizzlies. The Warriors lone All Star, starter Steph Curry, had a great game himself, scoring 29 points, including an and-1 with 14.6 seconds left that gave his team the lead. Unfortunately for him, that set the stage for this:
Make no mistake, LeBron was the story of this game, falling an assist short of his first triple-double of the season.* It seems like LeBron is doing that thing he does, every February, when he kind of just goes on a tear and reminds us he is bar-none the best player in the league, and usually by April has his name already etched on the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.
On the second night of a back-to-back, against the second Western Conference playoff team in as many nights, LeBron caused my friend – Mr. “Are you worried about the Heat yet?” from a few days ago – to call me and apologize, literally, for doubting Da Real Lambo’s son-in-law.
The King stay the King.
— The Indiana Pacers suffered their third home loss of the season thanks to a listless performance against the Dallas Mavericks scoring a season-low 73 points. To make matters worse, Paul George, the November MVP and sudden tabloid golden child, continued his abysmal 2014 scoring just 12 points on 4-17 shooting (Roy Hibbert didn’t help much either, scoring just four points) and showing his frustration late. The Pacers are a contender, in a very weak conference, but as the games are getting more meaningful, they are starting to show chinks in their armor.
— The Portland Trailblazers played in an extremely entertaining game for the second night in a row. And for the second straight night, they lost to a better team down the stretch, falling to the Clippers in Staples 122-117. After a scorching start to their season, the Blazers are falling back to earth going into the All-Star Break as the fifth seed in the West (albeit in a tie with the Clippers and Rockets).
— Even with the slippage as of late, this season has been a resounding success for the Blazers, a team almost nobody picked to contend, and they send two players to New Orleans to wear the ugly sleeved jerseys. Blake Griffin continued his recent tear, scoring 36 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Chris Paul looked like he hasn’t missed a beat, scoring 20 points to go along with his 12 dimes.
— The Rockets beat the Wizards 113-112 and go into the break as the hottest team in the NBA, winners of seven straight after James Harden dropped in a game-winning euro step layup with just 0.7 seconds to go. Harden went 16-16 from the free throw line and scored 35 to go with Dwight Howard’s 24 points and 16 rebounds. The Wizards, well, the Wizards hate being .500 or above about as much as Fabolous hates Drake today.
— While LeBron knocked down his game-winning three in Oakland, Carmelo didn’t knock his down in New York as the Knicks lost to the Kings in overtime 106-101. Melo was just 1-8 in the fourth quarter and overtime (0-5 in OT) and the Knicks let Jimmer Ferdette have his best game as a pro with 24 points including 6-8 from three point land. Unfortunately for everybody who loves good things, Boogie Cousins went down in the fourth quarter with a hip injury. *Sadface*
— Also, J.R. Smith may or may not have been liking Instagram pics from the bench.
* – He actually had a tenth assist, but had it called off after a shard of glass fell off a disco ball in the Oracle’s rafters while Shane Battier hit a three pointer.