He thought about who wasn't.
Wilt Chamberlain? Not there. Michael Jordan? Not there. Shaquille O'Neal? Not there, either. In NBA history, only Adrian Dantley and Moses Malone had put together five straight 30-point, 60-percent efforts - that is, until James joined their super-exclusive club.
And now, he stands alone.
James scored 30 points on 11 for 15 shooting to get into the NBA record books, Chris Bosh scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and the Miami Heat wound up beating the Portland Trail Blazers 117-104 in a wild, momentum-swinging game Tuesday night.
"It kind of blew my mind," James said. "To see how small the list was and for me to even be a part of the list, to start off, it's like, `Wow.'"
"Wow" doesn't even come close to summing up how he's been in the last six games. He's shot 66 for 92 - and take away a "slow" 6-for-12 start at Toronto on Feb. 3, he's made 60 of his last 80 field-goal tries, a ridiculous 75 percent success rate. He's scored either 30, 31 or 32 points in all six of these games.
His latest brilliance came in Miami's 1,000th regular-season win. But the only history anyone will remember was what James accomplished.
"I'm at a loss for words," James said. "Like I say over and over, I know the history of the game. I know how many unbelievable players who came through the ranks, who paved the way for me and my teammates.
"And for me to be in the record books by myself with such a stat - any stat - it's big-time."
Dwyane Wade added 24 points for Miami, which wasted a pair of 14-point leads - then put the game away with a 14-0 run in the final minutes. Ray Allen added 14 for Miami.
Damian Lillard had a game-high 33 points for Portland, which got 29 from LaMarcus Aldridge and 20 from Wesley Matthews. Just like the Heat, the Blazers also saw a 14-point lead slip away in the game, and then simply got shut down late by a stretch of airtight Miami defense.
"That was typical Miami Heat stuff," Lillard said. "Transition, finishing strong around the rim, and LeBron picking defenses apart."
Pretty good assessment from the rookie. For as great as he was, it was James' night.
"That's why he is who he is," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The best player in the game."
Added Wade: "Obviously, he is doing something that is amazing and special."
And on a night when the teams took turns putting together big runs, it was the Heat who had the last rally - ultimately, the last laugh as well.
With the game tied at 99, James drove baseline on former Cleveland teammate Sasha Pavlovic for a two-handed slam that he punctuated with a long scream.
The Heat immediately responded. Matthews made a 3-pointer on the next Portland possession to give the Trail Blazers their last lead. Miami scored the next 14 points, and when James got loose for a dunk with 2:38 remaining, the 30-point mark - and history - was his.
"He played a very good basketball game," Spoelstra deadpanned afterward. "That's all you're going to get out of me right now. He competes. He loves to compete. He loves close games. ... And he's leading us, not just with his talent."
Bosh made a jumper with 1:55 left to end the run and seal the win, Miami's sixth straight overall.
Miami next plays Thursday night in Oklahoma City, an NBA Finals rematch before heading into the All-Star break. The Heat topped the Thunder in the first meeting of the clubs this season, winning in Miami on Christmas Day.
"It's a game we'll look forward to," Wade said.
A glance at the halftime boxscore - Portland 59, Miami 58 - would have suggested the opening two quarters were closely contested, back-and-forth basketball.
Miami started with a flurry, hitting its first seven shots and doing so with James collecting five assists in the game's first 3:52. The Heat led 14-5 after that burst, and were still shooting 75 percent with a minute to go in the opening quarter.
They also were trailing at that point. The Blazers were doing anything they wanted on the offensive end.
"I thought it was a good effort by our team," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "Miami's one of the best if not the best team in the league right now and they are playing at a high level. We matched it for about 44 minutes."
More than matched it for a while, too.
Aldridge went on a personal 13-0 run over a stretch of nearly four minutes midway through the half, single-handedly seeming to turn what was a 29-24 Portland deficit into a 37-29 Portland lead. And another quick burst, this time a 10-1 run by the Blazers, gave the visitors what was their biggest lead, 57-43 with 4:48 left in the half.
Take away Miami's sizzling start, and the Blazers outscored the Heat 52-29 over a huge swath of the first half. Miami answered with a 34-12 run, rebuilding a 14-point lead midway through third.
And after Portland had one more rally, it was all Miami in the final minutes.
NOTES: It was the 25th time Lillard scored more than 20 points this season, adding to his rookie-of-the-year credentials. ... Aldridge has at least 11 field goals in each of his past five games. ... The Heat were without Mike Miller, the latest victim of the flu bug that has ripped through the locker room, and lost starting forward Udonis Haslem to a lower-leg contusion in the opening quarter. X-rays on Haslem's shin were negative.
The move comes after Jaroslav Halak aggravated a groin injury before game against the Kings last night. Allen has appeared in 31 games for the Rivermen and recorded two shutouts.
Blues next game is Wednesday night as they visit the Red Wings in Detroit.
The International Olympic Committee is dropping Wresting from the 2020 Summer Games.Wrestling has been part of the Olympics since the first modern games in Athens - in 1896. But a combination of factors - like low TV ratings and ticket sales put it on the bubble - along with modern pentathlon, the combination of fencing, horse riding, running, swimming and shooting. In the end, wrestling lost out.
The International Olympic Committee's executive board says it's renovating the Olympics and will likely add something new in 2020. Possibilities include baseball, karate, sport climbing and wakeboarding.
Brian Elliott has been in net the last four games of the Blues' five-game losing streak, during which time they've allowed 26 goals. Elliott made 19 saves in a surprise start a day after Jaroslav Halak was activated from injured reserve, led the team onto the ice for the pregame skate and was listed on the game sheet. Halak apparently tweaked a groin strain, although the team had no comment on the switch.
Jonathan Bernier was solid with 21 saves in just his second start of the season for the Kings. Los Angeles outscored the Blues 15-6 while eliminating them in five games in the second round of the playoffs last spring en route to the Stanley Cup finals.
Davis Drewiske made it 3-0 at 13:22 of the second period with his first goal of the season on a power play. Alex Steen scored on a power play in the final minute of the second for St. Louis with Andy McDonald earning his 300th career assist.
The five-game skid is the first since Jan. 2-12, 2011, for the Blues, who began the season 6-1. It's their first five-game losing streak at home since Jan. 23-Feb. 6, 2010.
Carter tapped in a backhander on a break-in with Slava Voynov at 8:31 of the first, just the Kings' fifth first-period goal of the season, then got behind defenseman Ian Cole for his sixth of the season early in the second. Drewiske was wide open in the slot off a feed from Dustin Brown.
The Kings are 89-1-10 their last 100 games when leading after two periods, and got insurance on Jarrett Stoll's second goal of the season that made it 4-1 early in the third. Voynov earned his second assist on the play.
Elliott entered the game 3-4-1 with a 3.51 goals-against average and coach Ken Hitchcock said after a 6-5 shootout loss to the Ducks on Saturday that he'd start rookie Jake Allen against Los Angeles if Halak wasn't ready to go. Allen was assigned to Peoria, Ill., when Halak, 3-0 with a 2.10 goals-against average and two shutouts, was activated on Sunday.
The Kings entered as the NHL's lowest-scoring team and matched their season best for goals.
Notes: Carter's last two-goal game during the regular season was March 3 against the Ducks. ... Attendance of 14,498 was the Blues' lowest of the season, more than 4,000 shy of capacity. ... The victory was Bernier's first since March 17, 2012, over the Predators. ... The Blues have scored on the power play in six straight games.
Phil Pressey had four assists to break Anthony Peeler's career school record and had 22 points for Missouri (17-6, 6-4 Southeastern Conference), which bounced back nicely from its latest discouraging road loss, a 1-point setback at Texas A&M on Thursday. The Tigers are 14-0 at home and 0-5 on the road.
Marshall Henderson had 16 points on 4-for-15 shooting for Mississippi (18-5, 7-3), which was on the verge of cracking the Top 25 last week but has lost three of four. Jarvis Summers also had 16 points while Murphy Holloway, coming off a career-best 24 points, was held to seven in 30 minutes.
Ole Miss whipped then-No. 10 Missouri 64-49 at home on Jan. 12, but gave up 50 points in the first half of the rematch and was outrebounded 50-32.
The game got testy with about 7 1-2 minutes to go when Reginald Buckner apparently was tripped by Oriakhi after the Tigers scored to make it 80-58 and came up swinging with a couple of wild punches that missed Laurence Bowers as Oriakhi danced away.
Buckner was ejected, leaving the court with a towel draped over his right shoulder and then tossing the towel into the stands after finishing with nine points and four rebounds. Oriakhi was called for a flagrant foul, plus Brown, Bowers and Holloway were whistled for technicals.
Missouri matched its season best with 12 3-pointers, four by Pressey and three each by Keion Bell and Jabari Brown. Bell added 21 points and Brown had 14.
Pressey, a junior, has 498 assists in three seasons, one more than Peeler totaled from 1988-92. He leads the SEC at 7.1 assists per game and finished with four assists and one turnover, one game after committing seven turnovers and missing a potential game-winning shot at Texas A&M.
The 50-point first half was a season best for Missouri, which led by as many as 23 points and had a 16-point halftime lead. After Brown's 3-pointer with 7:07 to go in the half, Missouri was up 38-18 and had more 3-pointers (7) than Mississippi had baskets (6). Pressey was just 4 for 13 overall, but hit his first three 3-pointers to fuel the fast start.
Mississippi shot itself out of the game, at 38 percent overall and 2 for 9 from 3-point range. Coming off a career-best 24-point game against Mississippi State, Holloway was scoreless until 6 1/2 minutes to go and totaled two points in the half.
The loss dropped the Tigers (16-6, 5-4 Southeastern Conference) to 0-5 in true road games. They have won three games at neutral sites this season.
Laurence Bowers was wide open when he hit a 3-pointer to give Missouri its first lead of the game, 68-67, with 53 seconds left.
Harris turned it over on Texas A&M's next possession, but Phil Pressey gave it right back with a turnover to set up the winning score for A&M (14-8, 4-5).
Ray Turner blocked a shot by Keion Bell with 2 seconds left to secure the win.
Alex Oriakhi led the Tigers with 15 points.
Ole Miss muscled in on the powerhouses that usually dominate national signing day, landing some of the most sought-after prospects in the country on college football's annual first-Wednesday-in-February frenzy.
The Rebels, coming off a promising 7-6 season in their first season under coach Hugh Freeze, had the experts swooning by signing three of the bluest chips still on the board and building a well-rounded class otherwise.
"I do think (this class) has the possibility of being a program changer," Freeze said. "But it's all on paper right now.
The day started with defensive end Robert Nkemdiche from Loganville, Ga., rated the No. 1 recruit in the country by just about everyone who ranks them, deciding to join his brother, Denzel, in Oxford, Miss.
"I feel like it's the right place for me," Nkemdiche said after slipping on a red Ole Miss cap. "I feel like they can do special things and they're on the rise. I feel like going to play with my brother, we can do something special."
Nkemdiche originally committed to Clemson last year, then backed off that and narrowed his picks down to LSU, Florida and Mississippi - and the Rebels beat the big boys.
They weren't done. Coaches in the Ole Miss war room were exchanging hugs and high-fives again a couple hours later when Laremy Tunsil, a top-rated offensive tackle from Lake City, Fla., picked the Rebels over Florida State and Georgia.
"Tunsil to Ole Miss I think was the biggest surprise of the whole (recruiting season)," said JC Shurburtt, national recruiting director for 247Sports.com.
And, as if the Ole Miss needed more good news, highly touted defensive back Antonio Conner from nearby Batesville, Miss., chose the Rebels over national champion Alabama.
Ole Miss also landed Laquon Treadwell from Crete, Ill., one of the best receiver prospects in the country. He made a verbal commitment to the Rebels back in December, and sealed the deal Wednesday, the first day high school players can sign binding letters of intent.
The end result was a class good enough to even catch the attention of LeBron James.
"Ole Miss ain't messing around today! Big time recruits coming in. SEC is crazy," the NBA MVP posted on his Twitter account.
Crazy good. While the Rebels racked up, it's important to remember they still have plenty of ground to gain on the rest of their conference.
Nick Saban reloaded the Crimson Tide with a class that Rivals.com ranked No. 1 in the country.
SEC powers Florida, LSU and Georgia pulled in typically impressive classes. SEC newcomer Texas A&M cracked the top 10 of several rankings. Even Vanderbilt, coming off a nine-win season, broke into the top 25.
It's the cycle of life in the SEC, which has won seven straight BCS championships. Stock up on signing day and scoop up those crystal footballs at season's end.
SLIPPING AWAY FROM USC
Signing day didn't do much to soothe the scars left from a difficult season for Southern California.
NCAA sanctions limited the number of scholarships coach Lane Kiffin and the Trojans could hand out this year, and then as signing day approached USC had several players who had given verbal commitments change their minds.
The most notable defection on signing day was five-star defensive back Jalen Ramsey of Brentwood, Tenn., who flipped to Florida State. Defensive end Jason Hatcher from Louisville, Ky., bailed on USC and signed with Kentucky, and defensive end Torrodney Prevot from Houston not only reneged on his USC commitment, but he landed at Pac-12-rival Oregon.
"People expected (Prevot) to flip from USC, but they thought it would be to Texas A&M," Shurburtt said.
USC's class won't be lacking blue chippers. Quarterback Max Browne from Washington is considered the next in a long line of topflight Trojans quarterbacks, and Kenny Bigelow from Maryland is rated among the best defensive linemen in the nation.
Kiffin will be banking on quality to make up for the lack of quantity, but that's a precarious way to play a game as uncertain as recruiting.
IF MOMMA'S NOT HAPPY ...
Alex Collins, a top running back prospect out of Plantation, Fla., announced on Monday night that he was going to Arkansas instead of Miami.
It was considered a huge victory for new Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema.
But on Wednesday morning, when it was time to make it official, Collins' letter of intent didn't come spinning through the fax machine in Fayetteville, Ark.
There were some odd reports about Collins' mother not being happy with her son's decision to go so far from home.
College coaches aren't allowed to talk about specific players before they sign, but Bielema did acknowledge during his signing day news conference that Arkansas' class of 22 players could "grow by one."
THE BIG TWO
Ohio State and Michigan received two thumbs up from experts on their signing day classes. They all had the Buckeyes and Wolverines around top five in the country.
After that, there was a drop off. Nebraska received solid grades and Penn State, despite NCAA sanctions that limited its class to 17 signees, held up pretty well.
"That's a tribute to the job (Penn State coach) Bill O'Brien and the staff did," Shurburtt said.
But signing day 2013 signaled that Urban Meyer's Buckeyes and Brady Hoke's Wolverines are primed to pull away from most of the Big Ten, and maybe - just maybe - give the league a team or two that can challenge those SEC teams for a national title.
BUILT TO LAST
Notre Dame followed up its best season in more than two decades with a recruiting class that coach Brian Kelly hopes can keep the Fighting Irish contending for more national titles.
The class includes a famous name in Torii Hunter Jr., the son of the All-Star outfielder. Hunter Jr. is a top-notch receiver prospect, though he broke his leg during an All-Star game and it could be a while before he's back on the football field.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith from Fort Wayne, Ind., is generally regarded as the jewel of a class that experts have ranked among the best in the country.
"I love agreeing with experts," Kelly said.
BASEBALL OR FOOTBALL?
Oklahoma hopes it has found the next Sam Bradford in Cody Thomas, a pocket passer from Colleyville, Texas.
One small problem. Thomas is also a big-time baseball player who could draw interest in the major league draft this summer.
"We wouldn't have pursued him if we didn't feel there was a great chance he'd be playing football," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said recruiting classes "don't always pan out. Of course, they always seem to pan out at Alabama."
AP Sports Writer David Brandt in Oxford, Miss., and Associated Press Writer Tom Coyne in South Bend, Ind., contributed.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at HTTP://WWW.TWITTER.COM/RALPHDRUSSOAP
"I have nothing to hide," Braun said in a statement released by his representatives on Tuesday night.
Earlier in the day, Yahoo Sports reported the 2011 NL MVP's name showed up three times in records of the Biogenesis of America LLC clinic. Yahoo said no specific performance-enhancing drugs were listed next to his name.
The Miami New Times recently released clinic documents that purportedly linked Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera and other players to purchases of banned drugs from the now-closed anti-aging center.
Rodriguez and Cabrera were on the list with Braun that also included New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and Baltimore Orioles infielder Danny Valencia.
Braun said his name was in the Biogenesis records because of an issue over payment to Anthony Bosch, who ran the clinic near Miami.
"There was a dispute over compensation for Bosch's work, which is why my lawyer and I are listed under `moneys owed' and not on any other list," Braun said.
"I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch," he said. "I will fully cooperate with any inquiry into this matter."
On Tuesday, MLB officials asked the Miami New Times for the records the alternative newspaper obtained for its story.
Asked specifically about Braun's name in the documents before the five-time All-Star released his statement, MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said: "Aware of report and are in the midst of an active investigation in South Florida."
Braun tested positive during the 2011 postseason for elevated testosterone levels. He maintained his innocence and his 50-game suspension was overturned during spring training last year when arbitrator Shyam Das ruled in favor of Braun due to chain of custody issues involving the sample.
With that, Braun became the first major leaguer to have a drug suspension overturned.
"During the course of preparing for my successful appeal last year, my attorneys, who were previously familiar with Tony Bosch, used him as a consultant. More specifically, he answered questions about T/E ratio and possibilities of tampering with samples," Braun said.
The T/E ratio is a comparison of the levels of testosterone to epitestosterone.
Braun led the NL in homers (41), runs (108) and slugging percentage (.595) last season while batting .319 with 112 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. He finished second to San Francisco catcher Buster Posey in MVP balloting."
Cervelli, who spent nearly all of last season in Triple-A, posted a statement on Twitter later Tuesday night.
"Following my foot injury in March 2011, I consulted with a number of experts, including BioGenesis Clinic, for (cont)," Cervelli posted, "(cont)legal ways to aid my rehab and recovery. I purchased supplements that I am certain were not prohibited by Major League Baseball."
An email sent to Valencia's agent was not returned.
Mozeliak made the announcement at a press conference. The discomfort started when Carpenter tried to ramp up his bullpen sessions, he reported numbness in his finger. That numbness is connected to the injury and surgery that kept Carpenter out of most of last season.
It is not known if Carpenter plans to return to the team after this season.
San Francisco running back Frank Gore insisted the 49ers were the more talented team even after losing 34-31 to the Ravens in Sunday's Super Bowl. The scoreboard said otherwise, but when the conference champions meet at the Meadowlands next February - yes, outdoors in the dead of winter for the NFL crown - the Niners easily could represent the NFC.
"I'd say we've got a great group of guys in the locker room, great warriors," Gore said, "and I'm not going to promise anything next year, but we're going to fight to get back here."
The toughest fight might be in their own division with Seattle and rapidly improving St. Louis. The Seahawks were the only team to allow fewer points than the 49ers, and their rivalry - including the semi-feud between coaches Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll - adds spice to the NFC West.
But the 49ers have to be the NFC favorite after losing in overtime to the Giants for the conference title last year, then barely falling to the Ravens on Sunday night.
"This is kind of tough, to get this far and let everything slip away through your hands," said Ahmad Brooks, part of the best linebacking corps in the league, along with All-Pros Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith and NaVorro Bowman. "The funny thing about it is, within the next few months, we're going to start trying to get back to the same place that we're at right now."
As will the Ravens, but their challenge is more imposing.
Unlike the 49ers, who figure to lose virtually no important parts - receiver Randy Moss, perhaps, but he was a marginal player in 2012 - the Ravens have bid adieu to their greatest player, linebacker Ray Lewis. Not only will they miss his performances on the field and his presence in the locker room, but he was the emotional engine in Baltimore.
The leadership burden will fall on two players whose contracts have expired but likely will be back with the Ravens: Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco and veteran safety Ed Reed.
Flacco almost certainly will get the franchise tag at more than $14 million if he can't agree to a long-term deal. But in the current NFL, winning without a top-level QB is impossible, and there can be no arguing now about Flacco belonging in that class.
Reed wants to return and the Ravens recognize how unwise it would be to let both Lewis and Reed leave at the same time - even after winning their second Super Bowl in 12 seasons.
"I always said when I came into the league and got drafted that I didn't want to be one of those guys jumping from team to team," Reed said during Super Bowl week.
Regardless, the Ravens will be a force - odds makers have placed them behind New England and Denver in the AFC next season - and one of the NFL's most prolific offensive teams.
Flacco throwing to the superb trio of wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith and tight end Dennis Pitta, plus the versatility of running back Ray Rice and a stud backup in Bernard Pierce says so. Flacco's protection from the line and All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach was impeccable in the postseason, helping Flacco throw for a record-tying 11 TDs with no interceptions.
The defense, oddly enough considering Baltimore's reputation, needs some work. But linebacker Terrell Suggs will be even healthier - he came back quickly from a torn Achilles tendon - and top cornerback Lardarius Webb returns from a knee injury.
Just like the 49ers, the Ravens have a tough task in their division. Cincinnati is young, but has made the playoffs the last two years. Pittsburgh never remains dormant for long.
Should these two clubs make it to the first outdoor Super Bowl at a cold-weather site, would Baltimore have the edge because it's used to such conditions? And because it's a three-hour drive from MetLife Stadium, will Ravens fans be out in force even more than they were in the Big Easy?
Or would the 49ers' immense talent base be overwhelming?
Food for thought over the next 11 months.
"We've got to look at this as a blessing because we didn't have to be here, but we made it," tight end Vernon Davis said. "We've always got next year; we've got next season. We might as well look forward to next season, keep our hopes high and continue to climb."
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