James Hits Game-Winner
I can't say I'm surprised. Just a few weeks ago, junior LeBron James helped the North overcome a 20-point halftime deficit to win the gold medal at the USA Basketball Camp. On Tuesday, in front of a much larger audience, James raised the bar.
As the buzzer sounded, James drilled a wing 3-pointer to give his camp team the 85-83 win over Lenny Cooke's boys in one of the classic games in the history of adidas ABCD Camp.
The final boxscore listed Cooke with 9 points and James with 24. The loss probably will cost Cooke a chance to repeat as the camp MVP, but more importantly for James it solidified his standing as the best player in the nation regardless of class. Can you handle the truth? There's LeBron James and then a HUGE gap. He's that good.
Early on, Cooke had things rolling his way. Prior to the game-winner from James, the highlight was a series of slick dribbles where Cooke tried to shake James before eventually sticking a jumper over him. In reality, the dribbling was super and the crowd loved it, but James wasn't biting on the fakes and Cooke simply made a tough shot over a good defensive player.
As the game progressed, things really tightened up. With under two minutes remaining, James and his team trailed by 10 points. Again, LeBron reeled the opponent back in before calmly hitting the game-winner as everyone in camp watched in amazement. It was a big-time play by a big-time player. It was what everyone expected. It was what they wanted to see. It happened.
The beauty of James wasn't that he scored all these points in igniting a comeback. Nope, that wasn't it all. It was poetic how he penetrated and set up his teammates for jumpers on the wing or layups when the defense converged on him. He's so smart, so savvy and yet so young. He gave Cooke all he could handle. In fact, Lenny really had to work for his points. On one drive, James, as one observer put it, "kidnapped" his shot on its way to the hoop.
Cooke wasn't shocked, but he was surprised. "You know, he's even better than I thought he would be." High praise coming from a young man who probably will use the adidas ABCD Camp to vault himself to another level, and possibly the NBA next year.
Are they really going to make LeBron James play in the underclassmen all-star game? C'mon, that's just not fair.