LeBron James had 51 points as the Miami Heat escaped the Amway Center with a 104-100 win over the Orlando Magic. James' performance was breathtaking in its completeness. The game lacked much in the way of defensive execution, but was just down-tempo enough that something like LeBron's night shouldn't have happened. He added eight assists to those 51 points, which means he scored or created by the pass about 80 percent of Miami's offense ... in a win ... over a really good team.
The Heat led by as much as 23 in the fourth quarter before Orlando stormed back. The Magic went on a 21-4 run in the mid-fourth, sparked by Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson. But by the time Orlando caught up, there were just 23 seconds left, meaning they had to play the foul game. They got lucky on a Mike Miller turnover with 10 seconds left and the margin down to three at 103-100, but Ryan Anderson couldn't hit the tying shot and Dwyane Wade (remember him?) ended the game with a free throw.
LeBron started the game off with 23 in the first quarter. He added six more in the second quarter as Miami maintained a moderate lead before jumping out in the third, thanks to 11 from King James. LeBron had 11 more in the fourth, many from the line late, and Wade added seven of his 13 in the final period to help the Heat hold on.
It was LeBron's ninth career 50-point game, and his first since March 2009, quite a long span all things considered. He's had at least eight assists in seven of his nine games 50-point games (including Thursday's win); for comparison's sake, Kobe Bryant has had eight or more assists in three of his 24 career 50-point games.