Last night’s game had plenty of story lines before it even began. The Cavs had just acquired Antawn Jamison. Mo Williams was returning early from injury. Kenyon Martin was returning as well. Melo had busted out during the All Star game. Would he continue his hot shooting? And would the Cavs make it 14 in a row? By the time the game was over, it was clear that the real story was about two nearly unstoppable forces dueling in the late minutes of a basketball game.
James, for his part, put up the only game with at least 40 points, 10 rebounds, and 15 assists in the modern era (since 86). The last player to do it was “Pistol” Pete Maravich. Carmello did not waiver either, however. On slightly more efficient shooting, Anthony posted 40 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.
The real difference between the two came in the fourth quarter and overtime. In the fourth quarter, Carmello made four of his six shots, while LeBron made four of eight shots. The difference became more pronounced in overtime. ‘Melo was a perfect three for three, including the game winner. Lebron on the other hand, made just two of his six shot attempts.
There was much more to the game than just the two superstars. The Nuggets for a combined 36 points from Kenyon Martin and Chauncey Billups, had only five turnovers all night, and dominated the offensive boards, garnering themselves 16 extra possessions. Cleveland saw Shaq play efficiently in the post, Mo Williams return to hit big shots, and look to be in good position when Jamison is thrown into the mix.
Ultimately, the night will be remembered for amazing duel between LeBron and ‘Melo. Afterall, the last time two players went for at least 40-5-5 was all the way back on December 17th, 2006 when Kobe Bryant and Gilbert Arenas went for 45 and 60 respectively. Paul Pierce and LeBron James did it on February 15th, 2006 as well. Certainly, last night’s performance was a rare treat for NBA fans.