On the surface, there are two obvious reasons that LeBron James was able to score 61 points against the Bobcats last night: 1) LeBron is amazing and 2) the Bobcats are not. This isn’t even the first 60-point game the Bobcats have given up this season. Not playing defense is kind of their thing (*though they are ranked top-10 in defensive efficiency).
But as bad as the Bobcats are, giving up that many points in a game, including 25 in one quarter, says something about the way they were playing LeBron. Might this quote from an Outside the Lines profile on Michael Jordan last year have played a role?
When LeBron goes right, he usually drives; when he goes left, he usually shoots a jumper. It has to do with his mechanics and how he loads the ball for release. “So if I have to guard him,” [Michael] Jordan says, “I’m gonna push him left so nine times out of 10, he’s gonna shoot a jump shot. If he goes right, he’s going to the hole and I can’t stop him. So I ain’t letting him go right.”
Jordan is not only one of the greatest players of all-time — he’s the owner of the Bobcats, and he’s appears to be hands-on with his team, often practicing with his players and dominating them one-on-one.
It’s highly likely that Jordan shared this intel with his players, or perhaps even ordered them to force LeBron left. The result? Look at the way LeBron blew it up from the left side, including three pointers and mid-range shots (via BI Sports):
LeBron said that Jordan’s scouting report on him was wrong when the Jordan story was released last year. Turns out, you can’t force LeBron to do anything he doesn’t want to do — at least not when he’s facing the Bobcats.
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