For the first time since LeBron returned to Cleveland, the rest of the Eastern Conference is not quaking in utter fear of the Cavaliers. Toronto just traded for Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, and they clearly think they might have a chance to give the Cavs a run. Kevin Love is hurt and may not be back until the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are only a few weeks removed from a decently fraught meltdown and the best case scenario for the playmaker they need is Deron Williams.
However, LeBron James remains the best player on the planet, and even if he’s playing too many minutes right now, there’s no player who can do what he does. He won’t win MVP and he might not even finish in the top three, but it’s never a bad time to stop and remember that he’s been incredible this season. Russell Westbrook and James Harden are incandescent offensive geniuses and Kawhi Leonard is the best perimeter defender in the NBA. None of them can replicate LeBron’s all-consuming production and general omnipotence. There are no weak spots. He’s 32 and still having his most efficient shooting season in a Cavaliers uniform and throwing more assists than he ever has.
Tonight, his Cavs beat the hapless Knicks and LeBron notched a triple double, with 18 points, 13 boards, and 15 assists. Six turnovers and 18 points is not a spectacular line from the King, but fear not. He did a ton of cool basketball stuff and guided the Cavs to an easy win.
Kristaps Porzingis wisely kept himself off a poster here.
LeBron’s night was highlighted by blocking both of the Knicks’ starting guards into oblivion, at the end of the first half, then again at the end of the second.
If you want more, this assist was extra smooth. The triple-double was LeBron’s sixth of the season, which means he’s only one short of his highest mark since the 2008 season. He should definitely be playing fewer minutes, and hopefully Ty Lue takes tonight’s treasure trove of cool basketball shit as a sign of what LeBron can do when he’s rested.