Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) is congratulated by Miami Heat shooting guard Ray Allen (34) and Miami Heat point guard Norris Cole in the second half of a game against the Charlotte Bobcats at American Airlines Arena. Photo by Robert Mayer, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
MIAMI - A career-best 61-points by LeBron James in Miami's latest home victory has teammates and rivals raving about the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player's latest success.
The 29-year-old sank his first eight 3-point attempts, scored 25 points in the third quarter to match the entire Charlotte lineup and powered the two-time defending NBA champions to a 124-107 win over Charlotte on Monday.
"It felt like I had a golf ball throwing it into the ocean," James said.
"I was able to get it going once again in the third quarter and I knew it would be one of those nights."
James broke the Heat record for points in a game, which had been 56 by Glen Rice in 1995.
"I haven't had an opportunity to soak it in or savour it just yet," James said.
"It is a surreal feeling for me. I don't know when I will have an opportunity to really understand what I was able to accomplish as an individual."
The Heat, 43-14, are battling with the Indiana Pacers for the best record in the Eastern Conference and the NBA but that didn't stop Indiana star Roy Hibbert from tweeting his appreciation of James' effort.
"damn @kingjames 61 is tough. Congrats," Hibbert posted on Twitter.
Heat teammate Shane Battier was a bit more tongue-in-cheek when he tweeted: "Anytime @kingjames and I combine to score 64 points, it's going to be a good night.....proud of my teammate tonight. That was a game!"
Battier compared James' deadly 3-point sharpshooting to a religious awakening.
"It was more of a spectacle than a basketball game," Battier said. "That's an all-time game right there.
"When you shoot 8-for-8, there's something psychological. It has more to do with a religious experience than a statistical experience.
"You're just so in tune with yourself. You're not thinking about mechanics. You're not thinking about fatigue. All you see is the hoop. It's pure. I'm a huge stat guy, but throw the stats out in a moment like that. It's total consciousness."
It's not like the Bobcats were not trying to stop James. They simply couldn't.
"He scored his points in a way that there's not much that you can do," Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said.
The Bobcats even resorted to leaving a Heat player unguarded to double-team James all the time.
"It was the first time it has happened to me since high school where I felt like I was in a box-and-one," James said.
"I probably had just three or four shots where I was out of rhythm and just taking them" to establish how well he really was shooting.
So how well did James play?
"Phenomenal. Amazing. Stupendous. Immaculate," said James' Heat teammate Chris Bosh. "That's all."
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