LeBron James looks to continue All Star momentum
When we talk of LeBron James’s numbers, we could talk about the three NBA championships, the four MVP awards, the four Finals MVP awards, the fourteen All Star Game appearances, the Rookie of the Year award, the scoring title. You could count him as the 7th highest scorer in NBA history already (30,273 points), 12th in assists (7,961), and 6th in triple-doubles (65).
But as ‘King James’ keeps amassing individual and team accolades even at age 33, the one number that stands out most is his length of excellence. Now incredibly in his 15th season in the NBA, James continues to be one of the league’s best players. Statistically, he has been a sure bet as a top five or top ten player in fantasy leagues for a dozen years.
And now, in Year 15, the ‘King’ remains one of the league’s best bets. This season, James has remained a model of consistency, appearing in all 56 of the Cleveland Cavaliers games while leading his team in scoring (26.5 ppg) assists (8.9 apg), steals (1.5 spg) and blocks (1.0 apg), finishing second in rebounds (8.1 rpg) and third in shooting percentage (54.4 %). James’s excellence has once again ranked him in top five league-wide in scoring, assists, and the NBA’s Fantasy Points per game (52.9).
Struggling to mesh with his new teammates earlier in the season, James’s numbers and effort took a slight dip—if only by his own gaudy standards. But a mid season trade last week seemed to have rejuvenated him, and James led the team to a four-game winning streak before the All Star break. All the All Star Weekend, James continued his good form, leading the team he picked himself (‘Team LeBron’) to a 148-145 victory with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. He won the All Star MVP award, the third of his career.
Safe to say, you can expect the optimism and momentum to continue this week. The Cavaliers are set to return from the break on Thursday night, when they host the Washington Wizards (Friday morning in India). They will travel to Memphis to play the struggling Grizzlies on Saturday morning, and end the week with a marquee match-up against the San Antonio Spurs back home in Cleveland, a game that will be broadcast on Monday morning.
These games will define James’s intent to make a timely run before the end of the regular season and perhaps re-enter his name in the MVP race.
Other games to watch this week:
Friday, February 23:
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls – Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric showed off during the All Star Weekend, and now the young guns of Philly will look to carry on that momentum against another exciting young team, the Bulls. Chicago feature the rejuvenated Zach LaVine and exciting Finish rookie Lauri Markkanen, a big man with range who always has the potential of putting up big numbers.
Saturday, February 24:
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets – There will be no shortage of star power as big names like James Harden, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins collide. Most of the main rotation players in Houston—like Harden, Eric Gordon, Gerald Green, Trevor Ariza, Paul, Ryan Anderson, and new-signing Joe Johnson—are good bets for those looking for high three-point numbers. Their contest against Timberwolves—a team near the bottom of the league among three-point proficiency—should provide a fun aesthetic contrast.
Sunday, February 25:
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns – Shooting galore! The Suns are the worst defensive team in the league, but feature one of the current three-point champ, Devin Booker. Portland will march into town featuring an exciting high-scoring team eager to make the most of the fast pace and lenient defense. Look for Booker, Damian Lillard, and CJ McCollum all to have huge scoring nights.