- Tom Haberstroh, ESPN Staff Writer
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MIAMI -- In Friday’s win over the Dallas Mavericks, James racked up 39 points on just 18 shots from the floor. In fact, that’s the most points he’s ever scored in a game with 18 field goal attempts or fewer. Needless to say, he’s making the most of his opportunities.
James’ hyper-efficient shooting performance comes on the heels of Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay shooting 37 field goal attempts in an overtime loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday. Gay totaled just 29 points in more than twice as many attempts.
The days of James taking 30 shots, much less 37 shots, are long gone. Actually, James has never had 37 attempts in a game in his NBA career. He’s reached the 30-shot plateau just twice in a Heat uniform. Over that same span, James has seen other players shoot 30-plus far more -- Kobe Bryant (14 times), Carmelo Anthony (12), Kevin Durant (four) and James’ Friday opponent Monta Ellis (four). So far this season, Anthony, Gay and Kyrie Irving have each shot over 30 times a game at least once.
After Friday’s game, James was asked about his reaction when he sees other players shooting 30 -- or as much as 37 -- attempts in a game.
“Um ...,” James pondered for a few seconds as if he was calculating something in his head.
“If you give me 37 shots in a game, I’d have 60 ... 70,” James said.
Laughter ensued from the reporters circle. So James elaborated.
“I had [almost] 40 now with 18 shots, I mean ... If you give me 37 shots in a game, I’d put up 60. Easy,” James said.
Preposterous answer, right?
On second thought, perhaps James was doing the math in his head.
James has scored 243 points this season on 144 field goal attempts. That’s a scoring rate of 1.6875 points per field goal attempt. Multiply that times 37 and what do you get?
Maybe not so preposterous after all.