LeBron James welcomes Ben McLemore to Miami (Isaac Baldizon/ Getty).
Miami Heat overlord LeBron James has only strengthened his credentials so far in the 2013-14 season, posting the sort of stats that would look like video-game numbers if not for the fact that those games have actually gotten pretty difficult. Through his first 25 games of the season, James has averaged 25.2 points on 59.7 percent shooting from the field and 41.1 percent from long-range, 6.8 rebounds, and 6.5 assists. While LeBron’s game has not been without flaws throughout his career, he’s rapidly getting rid of those, too.
Yet stats can only tell so much of the story, and there’s still no match for the sheer spectacle and terror of a top-level LeBron James highlight. In the first quarter of Friday night’s Heat home game against theSacramento Kings, LeBron dribbled to his left around Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas and saw rookie Ben McLemore set up in the hope of taking a charge on the cusp of the restricted area. James issued McLemore a rude welcome to competition against the sport’s best player, soaring for a forceful, brutal one-handed dunk that sent him to the floor.
I’d wish McLemore better luck next time, but I’m pretty sure there isn’t going to be a next time. LeBron has a way of teaching effective lessons.
The dunk proved to be a sign of things to come — the Heat came away with a comfortable 122-103 win. As usual, LeBron did a little of everything, finishing with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting, eight assists, and six rebounds. Plus one play we won’t soon forget.
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