Omnipresent Miami Heat superstar LeBron James is having the sort of regular season that reconfigures expectations of what the best player in basketball can and should be able to do. He's been so good, in fact, that it's sometimes hard to imagine that he does anything wrong, or can end up on the wrong side of an amazing play. Even in a hypercritical era and environment, LeBron's play on the court can seem beyond reproach.
On Wednesday night, however, James ended up looking inadequate in the top highlight of the Heat's road game against the Philadelphia 76ers. With 1:25 remaining in regulation and the Sixers down 91-89, point guard Jrue Holiday, an All-Star himself, proceeded to decimate the Heat defense with a series of impressive dribble moves. After taking a screen, Holiday split the ensuing double team, avoided Dwyane Wade's attempt at a steal near the free-throw line, and exploded down the lane. LeBron was the last line of defense, but he was too late to challenge and ended up as the victim of a Holiday dunk. It wasn't a brutal posterization, but it wasn't exactly James's finest hour.
Truth be told, this play belonged to Holiday — it's hard to imagine anyone making more moves in one play (particularly against an elite defense), and the finish is pretty excellent, too. He had an excellent game overall, putting up 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting, seven assists, seven rebounds, and three steals in 42 minutes.
Yet it wasn't enough to top the Heat, who came out on top 98-94. This win runs their streak to 20 games, or just less than a quarter of the 82-game season. As Kelly Dwyer wrote before the game, it's not out of the question to think they could challenge the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers' record of 33 straight. With that kind of ability, the opponents might have to settle for a highlight like this one and admit they did their best.