NEW YORK: LeBron James, frustrated at himself and his Miami Heat teammates after being routed by Oklahoma City, took it out on the New York Knicks in a 106-91 triumph on Saturday.
James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, scored 30 points, grabbed eight rebounds and passed out seven assists to beat a Knicks team that had won four of its prior five games against Miami.
“I didn’t like our performance in the second half against Oklahoma City and I took it upon myself to hold myself and the team accountable,” James said.
“Tonight we got stops, we forced turnovers and got rebounds. We executed and when we do that we’re a pretty good team.”
The reigning NBA champion Heat were humbled 112-95 at home Wednesday by Oklahoma City, which has the NBA’s best record. NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant netted 33 points for the Thunder.
The next day, James came to practice determined to use the lackluster loss as inspiration to make himself and his teammates better.
“This performance started two days ago,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He was on the court, drilling, sweating, letting everybody know this was not acceptable. His actions are speaking louder than his words.”
The Heat (33-13) also wanted to ease the sting of a 102-92 loss at New York on January 9 and did so by outhustling the Knicks (19-28).
“We wanted to be aggressive, disruptive,” Spoelstra said. It was good to see that poise going down the stretch.”