Cleveland Cavaliers

This Date in NBA History (March 13): LeBron James scores 51 points as Cleveland Cavaliers clinch Central Division title

On March 13, 2009, LeBron James had one of the best games of his NBA career.

In a 126-123 win for the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Sacramento Kings, James went off for 51 points, 22 of which came in the fourth quarter and overtime. He also added nine assists, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals to his stat line.

James came into the game on the verge of making history. Having recorded a triple-double in three consecutive games entering Cleveland's matchup with Sacramento, he was one shy from becoming the first player in almost 20 years to post four straight triple-doubles. He had recorded 14 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds against the Miami Heat, followed by 32 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists against the Los Angeles Clippers and 34 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds against the Phoenix Suns in the three games prior.

Even though James missed out on a history-making triple-double, his 51 points against the Kings helped the Cavaliers clinch the Central Division title for the first time since 1975-76.

"It's been 33 years, way before I was born," James said afterwards. "We put up a banner, that's Central Division champs. That's something we can be very proud of doing."

According to Game Score, which gives "a rough measure of a player's productivity for a single game," this is the 10th most productive game of James' legendary career. It's also one of the 12 times he has scored 50 or more points in a regular season game. There are only six players in NBA history with more 50-point games than him, those players being Wilt Chamberlain (118), Michael Jordan (31), Kobe Bryant (25), James Harden (23), Elgin Baylor (17) and Rick Barry (14).

Other notable events on March 13th

  • In 1992, Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn called his 2,500th consecutive game at the Richfield Coliseum in Cleveland, a streak dating back to November of 1965.
  • In 1999, Charles Barkley became only the third player in NBA history to record 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 4,000 assists. He joined the likes of Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
  • Also in 1999, A.C. Green, of the Dallas Mavericks, played his 1,000 consecutive game. He would go on to play another 192 games straight for an NBA record of 1,192.

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