- Tom Haberstroh, ESPN Staff Writer
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LeBron James kept up his hot streak against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
MIAMI -- With 9:24 left in the fourth quarter in last Sunday’s game in Toronto, LeBron James took a fadeaway jumper off the left wing and it missed off the back iron.
He has gone 49-of-65 since.
When alerted of those numbers after Miami Heat's win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, James did a double-take in front of his locker.
“Forty-nine what, makes?” James asked.
“Forty-nine of what?”
Forty-nine of last 65.
“S---, that’s pretty good,” James said.
Pretty good, indeed. But how exactly do we put 49-of-65 in proper perspective? Teammate Shane Battier said that task is impossible.
“You can’t, at least historically,” Battier said. “I don’t want to talk about it. It’s like blowing up a no-hitter.”
We’ll save that superstition for Battier because this streak is too remarkable to leave it be.
James is shooting 75.4 percent since that missed jumper in Toronto. He finished 4-of-4 that game and then shot 13-of-14 against Charlotte, 11-of-18 against Houston, 9-of-11 against the Los Angeles Clippers and, finally, 12-of-18 against the Lakers on Sunday.
He has shot better over his past 65 shots from the floor (75.4 percent) than he has at the free throw line this season (73.8 percent).
And those 65 shots haven’t been easy, nor have they always been in close proximity to the basket. Of his 49 makes, nine have come via dunk, including two alley-oops. But nine have come from beyond the 3-point arc.
“It is the same shot selection, they are just going in,” Heat center Chris Bosh said after the game.
Here’s a distance breakdown of those 65:
James is 32-of-36 (88.9 percent) on shots inside 15 feet.
Twenty-nine of his 65 shots have come from 15-plus feet. He is 17-of-29 (58.6 percent) on such shots.
His longest made shot was 27 feet away from the rim against the Clippers. His longest miss was the same distance (27 feet) against the Rockets.
The average shot distance of his 65 shots is 11.2 feet.
He is 21-of-23 on layups inside two feet.
He has made every one of his 11 shots from five to 15 feet.
Here’s how his 65 shots look when you write it out:
Make, make, make, make, make, make, make, make, make, make, make, make, miss, make, make, make, make, make, make, make, make, miss, make, miss, make, make, make, miss, make, make, make, make, miss, miss, miss, miss, make, make, make, make, make, make, miss, make, make, miss, make, make, make, miss, make, make, make, miss, make, miss, make, miss, make, make, miss, miss, make, make, make.
That’s 16 misses in all. There have been 49 instances this season when a player has missed at least 16 shots in a single game. Carmelo Anthony has eight of them; Kobe Bryant has seven; James Harden has two; Kevin Durant has two; James has one.
When has James been at his best during this stretch? He’s shooting 25-of-27 before halftime, missing a shot in both the first and second quarter. His worst quarter is the third quarter in which he has shot 57.7 percent. Actually, his jumper that he missed with 10:21 to go in the final frame against the Lakers? That was his first miss in the fourth quarter over this stretch. James had been a perfect 8-for-8 on fourth-quarter shots until then.
No, this streak hasn’t been easy. But when asked about James’ recent shooting streak after the win, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra paused for a bit and grinned.
“I say this to Miami fans, ‘Don’t take it for granted.’ He makes greatness look easy.”