Years from now, when LeBron James has solidified his place as one of the top-five greatest basketball players of all-time, this afternoon’s game against the Toronto Raptors will be a common reference point when people discuss his legend: a career-high fifty-six points (the youngest ever NBA player to score fifty), ten rebounds, five assists, a full forty-eight minutes…and the Cleveland Cavaliers still lost, 105-98. But the game also solidified James’ place as the most dangerous offensive threat the NBA has seen since Michael Jordan. The man can do it all: penetrate, dunk, shoot from range, hit free throws…I mean, watching James nail shot after shot after shot this afternoon was to witness a complete basketball player at the height of his considerable abilities. The collective ineptitude of Cleveland’s other players–the Cavs’ bench, for instance, contributed a grand total of one single point to the cause–was all that prevented James from padding his stats even more; when the team’s management surrounds him with a worthy supporting cast, these sorts of games will be routine.
But we still saw the first one.