Miami Heat news: LeBron James' contributions matched by his consistency

MIAMI — The consistency can be found in the scoring column: at least 20 points in all 13 games, his longest such stretch to open a season.

It can be found in the rebounding totals: 10 or more in seven of the first 13 games and no fewer than five in any.

It can be found in the shoot stats: only one game below 47 percent from the field, and that on a night when he was making trips to the locker room while playing amid the flu.

About the only debate regarding Miami Heat forward LeBron James a month into the NBA season is which is more impressive: the overall magnitude of his work or the unceasing consistency.

"Really, it's more about his competitive will," coach Erik Spoelstra said of what he has been gifted with for three seasons. "Every single day, and the great ones are like that, get motivated and are charged by competition."

Yet it's not even the numbers or even the 10-3 overall record.

It's also about the moments when stats aren't kept, moments that are out of view.

Moments such as Monday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena.

"We kept score in every drill we did," said Spoelstra, who gave his team Tuesday off, "and he was trying to win each game, with each one of his teams. We went three-on-three, we went four-on-four, we went five-on-five, and each time he's trying to will his team to win, whatever the drill was.

"That makes you more consistent when you actually get to the real game competition. That's something deep inside of him. You can't teach that quality. You try to cultivate it with guys, with he's an ultimate competitor."

And why sometimes the consistency can get taken for granted.

"One of the most consistent players that ever played," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "He's a stat stuffer. It seems effortless on some nights. That's what you become accustomed to."

With his 30 points in Saturday's victory over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers, he moved into the league lead with 13 20-point games. He now has scored 20 or more in 18 consecutive regular-season games, dating to last season. He also has scored in double figures in 432 consecutive games, the league's longest active streak and the sixth longest in NBA history.

"I've still got room for improvement, honestly," he said. "I'm not shooting the ball from the free-throw line like I want to. So I'm still getting better with that. I'll continue to get better with my game.

"I think I've done a pretty good job of sustaining my game throughout the year. It was a long year for me last year, and this summer, and I just try to sustain that this year, as well."

Still, there has yet to be an off-night this season, now with the opportunity to get revitalized during this four-day break that ends with Thursday's visit by the San Antonio Spurs.

"I might have a few, a couple of bad ones," he said. "But we'll see. Hopefully the games that I don't shoot the ball, I can do other things. I can rebound. I can pass the ball or put our team in position to win."

He said treating crowds to the LeBron experience remains meaningful, even after being named Most Valuable Player last season for the third time, even after winning his first NBA championship in June.

"I feel like when I go out there, if it's someone's first game to ever see me play," he said, "I want them to remember me."

Print this article Back to Top

Comments