After a less-than-thrilling trade deadline that some believe ranked among the worst the NBA's ever seen, we just wanted to see something fun on Thursday night's TNT double-header, and with a pair of games featuring talented no-doubt playoff teams. Unfortunately, the first half of the evening-opening contest between the East-leading Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls saw just 80 total points, 27 turnovers and a relative lack of cool, fun play.
So we appreciated LeBron James opening the third quarter with something jaunty and neat ... even if it didn't count.
Pretty cool way to make sure we're paying attention after a kicked ball, LeBron.
The left-handed 3 from the left side, banked in high off the top left-hand corner of the backboard called to mind this little piece of Larry Legend-making, related by Hall of Famer Larry Bird to ESPN.com's Rick Reilly:
Bird: I used to get bored. One night, I had this idea that I'm gonna try to shoot every shot left-handed.
Reilly: Didn't you spend a summer with your right hand tied behind your back, just so you could improve your left?
Bird: Well, not ALL summer. ... Anyway, [that night, teammate] Bill Walton asks me, "What are you doing? Don't do that. This team is pretty good." I think I made 11 of my first 14 left-handed.
Magic: Oh, my!
Bird: Anyway, finally, my coach [K.C. Jones] calls a timeout and brings me over, 'cause we weren't too far ahead anymore. And he's pissed. And he says, "Use your other damn hand."
I mean, I wouldn't suggest shooting every shot left-handed if I was LeBron — as you might remember, lefty free throws have been a problem for him in the past — but considering the ridiculous run he's been on of late, I can't blame him for looking to make things a bit more interesting for himself. (Especially considering, like Bird, James is actually ambidextrous, and might be able to make the in-game southpaw switch work.)
Then again, one of the fun things about basketball is that moments can get interesting when you least expect them ... like, for example, all alone on a fast-break runout that you finish 100 times out of 100.
OK, make it 99 times out of 100. Nice to see you're actually human, Mr. James.
The lose-the-handle whoopsie was James' only miss at the rim of the night, of course; he went 5 for 6 from up close and 11 for 15 overall, scoring 26 points with 12 rebounds, seven assists and two steals in 34 1/2 minutes as Miami punked the punchless Bulls, 86-67, at the United Center in Chicago. The line of the game, the highlight of the game and the lowlight of the game ... man, LeBron really can do it all.