March 29 (UPI) — Fans at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C., were expecting a humongous dunk from LeBron James, but what they got was something completely different.
James scored a game-high 41 points in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 118-108 win Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets. But one of his most impressive plays was actually something he didn’t pull off.
The NBA superstar drove the lane quickly, being poked by Dwayne Bacon just above the free-throw line. He pushed off of Bacon’s reach-in with his right hand before picking up the ball with both hands. James lifted the ball high in his right hand and cocked back for a powerful jam as he ascended over the paint.
But a referee blew his whistle while James was staring down the rim. James palmed the ball back with his right paw, while staring at the official in surprise of the foul call, all while floating in the air toward the baseline. The play came at the 4:22 mark in the first quarter, with the game tied 16-16. “King James” made both of the resulting free throws and scored six points in the first frame.
James, of course, made up for his non-dunk with several thunderous throw downs in the final three quarters of the victory.
“The Akron Hammer” also had 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Cavaliers. Cleveland has now won six of its last seven games.
Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 21 points. James has now scored at least 10 points in 866 consecutive games, tying Michael Jordan for the all-time record.
“I’m just going out and I’m trying to be productive; I can’t even tell you how I’ve been able to do it. It’s not like I go into every game saying, ‘Okay, I’ve got to get 10 points this game.’ It just kind of organically happens,” James said after the game, according to the team website. “Any time I’m mentioned with some of the greats, and arguably the greatest basketball player of all time in Mike, it’s just another feat for me to be just appreciative and humbled by what I’m able to do.”
He’ll have a chance to pass “His Airness” at 8 p.m. Friday when the Cavaliers host the New Orleans Pelicans at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.