James in no mood to surrender his MVP award this season.
There were eight games on the NBA schedule on Monday night, with the Miami Heat securing a win as LeBron James scored a career-high 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats.
It was an eighth straight win for the two-time NBA champions who continue to find their level ahead of the playoffs, but for James in particular, it was a memorable night.
The 29-year-old made 22 of 33 shots from the field, including his first eight three-point attempts, as he put on the best scoring show of his career thus far for a franchise record.
“The man above has given me some unbelievable abilities to play the game of basketball,” James said. “I just try to take advantage of it every night. I got the trust of my teammates and my coaching staff to go in there and let it go.”
Al Jefferson had 38 points and 19 rebounds for the visiting Bobcats, but he conceded after the game that the only way they were in with a chance is if you were to take James’ points off the board.
Miami now move to 43-14 for the season and remain two games adrift of the Indiana Pacers at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Elsewhere in the East, the Brooklyn Nets topped the Chicago Bulls as Deron Williams scored 20 points and Joe Johnson had 19 for the Nets who move to 29-29 and reach the .500 mark for the first time since November.
D.J. Augustin had 16 points off the bench for the Bulls, but after conceding just three turnovers against the Knicks on Sunday, they turned the ball over a staggering 28 times which led to 30 Brooklyn points as they let the game slip away.
Taj Gibson insisted that having “smashed them in the mouth” twice, it was always going to be difficult to keep the Nets in check this time round, and it proved that way for Chicago who saw their four-game winning streak come to an end as they slip to 33-27.
Meanwhile, there was a huge upset in the Western Conference as the Los Angeles Lakers rolled out of Portland with a win over the Trail Blazers.
Wesley Johnson was the hero as he scored the go-ahead basket with 6.9 seconds left, while Pau Gasol had 22 points as the Lakers won their second straight and snapped the Blazers’ five-game winning streak.
Jodie Meeks added 21 points, and while the likes of Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant remain sidelined, coach Mike D’Antoni will be delighted with the application from the rest of his team as they return home with the morale-boosting W.
Elsewhere, there was further misery for the New York Knicks who lost to the Detroit Pistons, while Kevin Love had 33 points and tied a season-high with 19 rebounds for his 50th career double-double in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ win over the Denver Nuggets.
Memphis Grizzlies 110-104 Washington Wizards
Chicago Bulls 80-96 Brooklyn Nets
New York Knicks 85-96 Detroit Pistons
Charlotte Bobcats 107-124 Miami Heat
Utah Jazz 88-114 Milwaukee Bucks
Minnesota Timberwolves 132-128 Denver Nuggets
Los Angeles Lakers 107-106 Portland Trail Blazers
New Orleans Pelicans 89-96 Sacramento Kings