Latest posts by Don McCormack (see all)
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To pretty much everyone who has been watching him play this season, it appears LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers is not only successfully fighting off the undefeated Father Time, but even turning back the clock.
James is averaging 27.6 points, 8.2 assists, a career-high 9.1 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocked shots per game this season for the Cavaliers (26-13), while shooting career-bests both from the floor (.558) and the free-throw line (.783). His 3-point percentage (.390) is the second-best mark of his career.
Now 33 years old and in his 15th NBA season, James, who is averaging 37.2 minutes per game this season, continues to amaze and Saturday night in Orlando, he did something he had not done since he was in his 20s.
Namely, come up with six steals in a single game, which considering how long it’s been since the Cavalier superstar had been able to reach that number, it’s perhaps the most impressive statistical line he had on a night he posted 33 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and a blocked shot in a 131-127 victory.
The last time James had as many as six steals in a single game was back on Feb. 1, 2014 against the New York Knicks when he did so as a member of the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden, more than almost four years ago.
James enjoyed talking about his effort on the defensive end of the floor after the win Saturday night.
“I play both ends of the floor,” he said in his postgame remarks. “I don’t just score the basketball, I don’t just rebound, I don’t just pass the ball.
“I’ll command an offense, but I’ll also command a defense as well.”
James’ six steals against the Magic are one off his career-best total, a mark set even further back in his stellar career.
In fact, in the 21st game of his career, on Dec. 13, 2004, James set the bar for steals in a game for himself at seven on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies.
James was a 19-year-old rookie that night.
“(I’m) just trying to help my teammates, being in the right place at the right time,” he said. “And anytime you get a steal, it allows us to get into the open court and not have to play against a set defense.
“So that’s very key to our transition game.”