Friday night was a sight that was ever so familiar in a variety of ways. Miami victimized it’s opponent once again by double digits, but this time it was at the expense of LeBron James’ former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. From the jump it looked as though the Cavs were intimitated, scared, and knew what was coming to them. Miami came out clicking on all cylinders and quickly jumped to a 21-2 lead, which set the tone for the rest of the game. The only time when the Cavs were actually in striking distance was at the beginning of the game, when the score was 0-0. Miami led by as many as 34 points at one point, and head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Byron Scott commented on his team, “We looked like we were frightened.” But then again, who wouldn’t be frightened of a team that had pummelled its way through 5 road teams with a double digit margin of victory in each respective contest.
Two-time MVP and homecoming king, LeBron James, reminded the city of Cleveland once again of how important he really was to the waning franchise. LBJ scored 28 points on 11-19 shooting, while adding 5 assists and 5 rebounds on a wide array of dunks, alley-oops, jumpers, and post-up finishes. Miami, now 24-7, has surpassed their previous best start in franchise history, which was 23-7, and look to continue their impressive stretch Sunday afternoon as they host the Orlando Magic in South Beach. Currently, King James is arguably playing the best basketball of his career and it is translating into wins for the Miami Heat. When head coach of the Miami Heat, Erik Spoelstra, was asked about James’ production as of late, he responded with, “He’s been playing at an MVP level all season.” Not only are the spectators impressed with the usual 28, 8, and 7 that LeBron has been putting up his whole career, but what fans are most impressed with is the efficiency at which James is putting up these numbers. LeBron James is shooting at a blistering 54.6% from the field and is the league leader in NBA player efficiency at a rating of 36.7. To illustrate how important PER actually is, let us define what PER even means. Player efficiency rating or PER is the rating of a player’s productivity per minute. John Hollinger of ESPN came up with this brilliant formula to measure the value for a certain player’s accomplishments. The stats that he uses to create this formula includes, but is not limited to, field goals, 3-pointers, rebounds, assists, free throws, blocks, steals, and even turnovers, missed shots, and personal fouls.
Not trailing too far behind the league’s two-time MVP is Dwyane Wade, who has a player efficiency rating of 32.2. Wade, who finished the game with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists, made his first three pointer of the season in the second quarter, which put the Heat up 58-31 at that point. As a team, Miami shot 50.6% from the field and a whopping 66.7% from the land of three. On the controversial topic of whether LeBron James was really leaving Miami in the near future, LeBron reiterated that he could not give a definitive answer because he said anything was possible in the future. However, James had a message for the fans of Miami, “I love the fans of Miami. I’m here. I’ve got everything invested with this team. I’m looking forward to the years to come.”