« 10 a.m. Monday: Grimes re-signs; More from Riley, UM; Criticism from ex-Canes follows D'Onofrio; Fins, Heat, Marlins | Main | 5:30 p.m. Dolphins update on Soliai and Starks; Oden out »

Postscripts on LeBron's historic night; Two-fold reason for Dolphins' interest in Jackson; TV notes

Postscripts on LeBron James' historic night in a 124-107 win Monday against Charlotte:

### James' 61 points topped his previous career high (56 vs. Toronto in 2005) and the Heat single game record (56 by Glen Rice, in 1995). And he did it with his usual efficiency, closing 22 for 33 from the field. He scored 24 points in the first half, 25 points in the third quarter and 12 in the fourth. His 37 in the second half were the most ever by a Heat player in a half.

### James' reaction afterward, on Sun Sports: "The man above gave me unbelievable abilities to play this game of basketball. We couldn't get stops in the fourth quarter. That allowed me to stay in the game. It was 13-point game with six minutes to go."

Later, LeBron said: "Those are the shots everyone wants me to take [speaking of the three-pointers and jump shots], but I knocked them down. I'm shooting 58 percent from the floor... To be able to do it with a group of guys I would do anything for means so much. These guys are true brothers.... It's a surreal feeling for me right now. I haven't really grasped what just happened... The excitement of the fans showed me I was doing something special.... [At halftime], when I walked out of the locker-room, D-Wade said, 'You better get 40.' I had 40 when he walked out of the locker-room to take his seat."

### LeBron shot 8 for 10 on threes: "I just had it going. Once you get into a zone, you feel like you're shooting a golf ball into the ocean. I'm not much of a three-point shooter, but it was great to knock a few down."

### James made his first eight three-pointers before missing his last two. And for good measure, he added seven rebounds and five assists. He was 9 for 12 from the line. The Heat outscored Charlotte by 16 in his 41 minutes.

### According to Elias, only two players have shot a higher percentage while scoring at least 60 points in the shot clock era: Wilt Chamberlain (82.9) and Karl Malone (80.8).

### Erik Spoelstra's take, afterward: "At a certain point in the third quarter, that's what we were all doing [watching]. He can compete for the leading scorer in the league every single year if he chose to be that aggressive looking at the rim. But he's as much a facilitator as he is a scorer for himself. It was a special performance. It was a little uncharacteristic.

"I almost took him out at the end of the third to give him a rest but he was in a great groove. The rim looked like an ocean to him. The last few possessions, we were trying to design some three-point [shots] for him. He wasn't playing out of context until the last seven minutes of the fourth....

"I still remember the first preseason game I coached him. He made seven or eight straight plays, and I said, 'This is different.' He can really do so many different things, that nature of who he is, he's an anomaly. He's a physical anomaly, but also the way he approaches the game and reads the game --- those things are once in a generation."

### This was James' 10th career 50-plus point game in the regular season, but the first time he has done it in his home arena. James is 8-2 in those games.

"To do it with these fans, their excitement was able to get me through. I wouldn't want to do it in front of anyone else," LeBron said. "My first career 50 turned into 60 right here at home. That's great."

Among active players, James trails only Kobe Bryant for 50-point games. Kobe has 24.

### James' 61 were the second-most in the NBA this season, behind Carmelo Anthony's 62 (also against Charlotte). The NBA's last three 55-plus point games all came against the Bobcats: LeBron, Carmelo and Deron Williams.

### Chris Bosh's reaction, on Sun Sports: "That's the most efficient 60 I've seen in the history of the game. It kind of happened pretty quickly... We kept giving him the ball. Once he got to 35, he got 40 and it started multiplying. He was hitting those threes." Bosh joked that he expected a gift from LeBron because "I kept passing him the ball."

### Bobcats coach Steve Clifford: "If he's going to shoot the ball like that from that range, nobody's going to beat them. He scored his points in a way there's not much you can do. Every time we were more aggressive, he scored layups."

### LeBron's 25 points in the third quarter were his highest output ever, topping his previous high of 24, set with Miami. It was also the most points ever by a Heat player in a quarter.

### James made at least 20 baskets for only the second time in his career. The other was in a 2009 playoff game vs. Orlando. His 22 field goals were a Heat franchise record.

### LeBron is averaging 37.3 points and shooting 67 percent in his three games with a mask protecting his broken nose.

### LeBron said he had 45 text messages on his phone after the game.

"Every night I go on the floor, I want to be the MVP," he said. "There are so many kids that look to me as the best, a role model, a leader. I have a responsibility."

### LeBron and the Heat play in Houston Tuesday. The only player to score 60 in two straight games is Chamberlain (multiple times).

### Tweet of the night, from Shane Battier, who scored three points tonight: "Anytime @kingjames and I combine to score 64 points, it's going to be a good night."

DOLPHINS PURSUE JACKSON

The Dolphins’ decision to bring in former Cleveland starting inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson for a visit on Tuesday suggests what many have suspected --– that new GM Dennis Hickey isn’t completely thrilled with Jeff Ireland’s overhaul of the linebacker crew last season.

But it also speaks to Hickey’s admiration for Jackson, according to a league source.

The Dolphins like Jackson not only for his ability, but also for his leadership --- something Miami is trying to address after last year’s locker-room scandal. He was a respected and vocal leader in Cleveland, and this locker-room needs that.

When Cleveland cut him last month, general manager Ray Farmer called him “the epitome of class, leadership and professionalism.”

Hickey has tap-danced around questions concerning both Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe, but keep in mind that both have guaranteed salaries next season, Ellerbe at $6 million and Wheeler at $5 million. There’s a big cap hit cutting both.

So it’s not out of the question Miami could keep Wheeler and Ellerbe for now, even if they sign Jackson or another starting-caliber linebacker. And Miami repeatedly has said how much it values Koa Misi, who is also under contract. Misi is Miami's best linebacker against the run and isn't expensive ($1.7 base salary in 2014).

Keep in mind that Ellerbe and Wheeler would have little incentive to take a pay cut because their base salaries are guaranteed.

Jackson is well-regarded and has been credited with 158, 118 and 141 tackles the past three years, among the highest totals in the league. Some of his Pro Football Focus metrics weren’t great last season, though that’s not always a completely accurate gauge.  

Here’s how the three linebackers compared in 2013, according to PFF:

### Tackles: Jackson was seventh in the league with 141. Wheeler had 118, Ellerbe 101.

### Impact plays: Jackson had 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one interception. Ellerbe had one sack, two interceptions. Wheeler had half a sack, nothing else.

### Run defense: PFF gave Jackson a minus 11.3, which ranked 47th of 55 inside linebackers. Ellerbe was minus 17, which ranked 53rd of 55 inside linebackers. Wheeler was minus 16.8, which was 34th of 35 outside linebackers in a 4.3.

### Pass coverage: Jackson allowed 9.7 yards per catch and a 91.3 rating in his coverage area – better than Wheeler, who allowed 10.3 and 108.7, respectively. Ellerbe was very good in pass coverage (7.7 yards per completion, 73 rating).

Overall, PFF ranked Jackson 42nd and Ellerbe 50th of 55 inside linebackers. PFF ranked Wheeler 35th of 35 outside linebackers in a 4-3. But Jackson was better than Wheeler in every statistical category.

Jackson already has visited Tennessee and Denver and is expected to visit one other team after visiting Miami on Tuesday. He will then make a decision. (For an update on safety Louis Delmas from earlier Monday, see the last post.)

By the way, the Dolphins did not use the franchise player tag by today's 4 p.m. deadline. Brent Grimes signed a four-year, $32 million contract earlier (see the last post), and neither Randy Starks nor Paul Soliai were slapped with the franchise tag.

WADE OUT

The Heat just announced that Dwyane Wade won't play tonight against Charlotte, but he's not injured. Erik Spoelstra said he had "no setback"; the team, on its Twitter feed, says he's merely being rested. The Heat plays in Houston on Tuesday. Wade has missed 16 games this season.... Toney Douglas was expected to start in Wade's place tonight.

BROADCAST DEVELOPMENTS TODAY

### Fox named Harold Reynolds and Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci as its new lead baseball analysts, replacing Tim McCarver, who resigned after last season. Reynolds and Verducci will join Joe Buck on the call of several regular season games, the All-Star Game, one league championship series and the World Series.  

McCarver, who has announced every World Series since 2000, moved on from his national stage but is announcing 30 St. Louis Cardinals games for Fox Sports Midwest.

Verducci is unique in that he’s not a former player or former manager. Before Verducci, only one person was an analyst (not play-by-play, but analyst) on World Series games who didn’t play or manage: Howard Cosell.

### In retrospect, Michelle Beadle made a career misstep by leaving a prominent role on ESPN to join NBC Sports Network in 2012. On Monday, she returned to ESPN as co-host of SportsNation, with Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

manny

What's a Michelle Beadle?

Mike

Beadles' actually very good. Had good chemistry with Colin Cowherd. But got a little too full of herself.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

It's the first time he's topped 50 at home in his career, so they asked him about that after the game.

Seemed to me he made a point saying he wouldn't want to have done it in front of any other fans. Only ever played in front of Cleveland fans.

I don't know, quotes don't convey the tone, find the video if you can, it seemed like he was making a point.

Barry Jackson

LeBron did indeed say that and I included that quote above, Lois.

Ed

Why would Ireland give wheeler and ellerbe guaranteed money? stupid.

joe r

folks, dennis hickey is off to a very good start, no time wasting on the grimes situation and looking at the linebackers now..its early but so far so good; he needs a rb and of course o-line; very very difficult conditions except dawn aponte and crew handed him a hefty war chest of cash so things are looking up for the phins right now; could they have hit their low point a few weeks ago with the release of the report, lets see

Bob Griese 12

They have 20 players whose contracts are expiring, Aponte and crew had nothing to do with that.

Harleyray

The Dawn (as she is known on other blogs)received a lot of negative PR when Ireland left Miami. She is the one that should be credited for manageing the Dolphins cap, and has done a great job so far. These guaranteed contracts to FA's last year was all Irelands doing,not hers,but now she has to deal with it. I have a feeling that she and Hickey will work well together and get us talent without killing our cap. Notice that out of twenty FA's we have,Grimes is the only one they felt was a REAL priotity? Maybe they realize why this team went 8-8 last year. Mediocre talent? hmmm

scott alderson

why is a franchise tag always "slapped" on a player....

mayberd

Miami is lucky to have a great player and man like Lebron James to play in their city.James hard work to improve his game is paying off and barring injury he may rival Michael Jordan as the NBA best ever player.D'Qwell Jackson would be a great addition for the Dolphins.The leadership and talent that Jackson has would add to a lackluster Dolphin Linebacking corp but I think after playing several years with the sorry Browns he will probably go to Denver where Jackson will have a much better chance of going to the playoffs.

Harleyray

mayberd,I have to disagree on your post of Jackson going to Denver. Ellerbee came from a Superbowl winning team,but when all is said and done,it's all about the money and a cash-strapped Denver team can not compete with the cap money the Fins have. Thanks to the guaranteed money Wheeler and Ellerbee received from Ireland last year,unless we find a trade partner that wants them and their contracts,we are stuck with them for better or worse. Personally,I would love to see Jackson in a Fins uniform. Time will tell.

streetsports316

First off m. duffner earn your pay and coach up the linebacking unit to suit their strength.Ellerbee needs his r.lewis.wheeler needs to blitz the passer misi needs to make game changing plays.jordan must beat out somebody in camp or jeff ireland will never work in this league again as a gm. Denis hickey lookin good early bring in Jackson ,Ellerbee needs him and he has respect in the league i won a lotta money bettin browns game 'under, Delmas huge upgrade over Clemmons and alocal guys play better at home (you dont wanna suck in front of fam and friends) and at half the price of byrd.R.Jones almost all-pro put in work this summer baby!!R.Starks dont be greedy take descent money and resign here you know you like it here and before b.grimes came you were our second best d.player.But the elephant in the room is DO WE HAVE A A QUARTERBACK? Bill LAZOR it is you duty as a human being to honestly evaluate m.Vick he knows the off. he probably will be cheap and not risky he can still outrun l.Mccoy and can throw the deep ball. this is competition league but matt moore sucks compared to vick and makes to much money let vick compete and i think he beats out tannehill like he did foles last year he got hurt.Look people the afc is as weak as ever there is no dominating defense the time is now!T-hill might be the one but until then push him .you gotto decide if hes worth 100 mill .Big props to Golden making a move that was THE BIGGEST in his career bringing in Tim Harris now the pipeline is Est. to the nations best program this is how you bring back the dynasty also goldie the Miramar coach is a beast in the community like harris and that what it takes

The comments to this entry are closed.