LeBron James promised to be a whole different animal in the 2010 NBA Playoffs, and he had yet to be as good as he was Sunday afternoon.
Just a game after surrendering a game to the Chicago Bulls, James recorded his fifth-career triple-double to take a 3-1 series lead and all but snuff out the young Bulls’ hopes of an upset.
James shot a sweltering 66-percent from 3-point land, scoring 37 points , 12 boards and 11 assists in a 121-98 blowout of Chicago.
“I’ve done some great things in the past, I’ll do some great things in the future,” he said. “But we’re in the present now, and I’m feeling pretty good.”
James has now scored 116 points in the last three games of the series. His biggest make was a long-bomb from halfcourt to end the third quarter.
“I can comfortably shoot that shot,” James said. “It was a regular jump shot for me. Comfortably, I can walk and dribble into a halfcourt 3.”
“Seeing him do that is always fun to watch,” teammate Mo Williams, who had 19 points, said. “It takes a lot out of a team. We’re already up 20 and he’s hitting shots like that. You just sit back like an opponent and wonder what can we do.”
“He was extremely active all over the place,” coach Mike Brown said. “He really set the tone defensively. He was terrific for us on the weakside. He was great for us on the ball, and he talked defense the whole game.”
Antawn Jamison added 24 points.
Bulls’ center Joakim Noah recorded a double-double with 21 points and 20 rebounds, becoming the first Chicago player to achieve that feat. But it wasn’t enough as the rebounding difference never seemed to matter. Chicago led 43-40 late in the second-quarter, but quickly surrendered it and played catch up the rest of the evening.
“When we had the lead, we should have run some more effective plays, run some pick-and-rolls and attacked the basket,” Chicago’s Derrick Rose said. “And even if you couldn’t make the shot, you could dump it off to a big and maybe they could get to the line.”
The series continues again in Cleveland Tuesday night, where Cleveland will be huge favorites in NBA Sportsbooks.