LeBron James exploded for an incredible 51-point, 11-rebound, 8-assist night to lead the Miami Heat to an impressive 104-100 victory over Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic Thursday night from beautiful Amway Center in downtown Orlando, Florida.
Wasting no time to personally address previous statements made from more than one member of the Orlando Magic franchise, James single-handedly destroyed the Magic scoring 23 first-quarter points en route to one of the most memorable individual performances put on in recent NBA memory.
The Magic began the game in jovial fashion mocking LeBron’s former Cavaliers’ team pre-game antics of snapping photos before tip-off, however maybe they should’ve waited until after the game to crack a smile as James apparently used their jeers as motivation to silence any and all premature exuberance.
Unfortunately for the Magic, however, LeBron and his Heat teammates would be the only ones doing the laughing and celebrating after this one.
Sports most polarizing figure since “The Decision” finished his MVP-type performance going an unbelievably efficient 17 of 25 from the field and 14 of 17 from the free throw line.
He also grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds and 8 assists doing most of his damage against second-year man Earl Clark who was inserted into the lineup early due to Ryan Anderson‘s foul trouble and the absence of power forward Brandon Bass in the starting lineup due to injury.
As a unit the Heat shot 50% from the field for the game getting basically anything they wanted on offense due to James strong play in the first half.
The Magic, on the other hand, once again struggled to find a consistent rhythm offensively shooting just 42% from the field while hoisting up 33 three-point tries and making only 12 on the night.
However, the game was not completely without drama as Miami allowed Orlando to come all the way back from a 23-point deficit to close to within three with just under a minute remaining.
The Magic had a terrific opportunity to tie it and send the game into overtime after a few key missed free throws from Dwyane Wade and a costly turnover from James on an inbounds play, however Ryan Anderson’s final three-point attempt clanked off the right side of the rim and gave Miami a nice victory over their Southeast Division rivals in the Orlando Magic.
Game Notes: James’ 51 points was a high in the NBA this season.
Dwyane Wade came back to finish out the contest despite taking a nasty fall after attempting to dunk over big Dwight Howard early in the second half.
Although Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard finished the night posting another double-double with 16 points and 17 rebounds, he continues to struggle at the free throw line going just 3 of 13 against the Heat on Thursday night.
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