LeBron James would have had an impressive night even if he'd missed the game-ending shot that gave Cleveland a 140-138 overtime victory over the Wolves. The buzzer-beater capped a night of 37 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists for James, whose team has struggled lately with a 5-5 record in its last 10 games and a shocking loss the previous night to lowly Orlando.
Keep in mind that most people started the season with the assumption there would be yet another rematch between the Cavaliers and Golden State for the NBA title. Well, there are two teams ahead of Cleveland in the Eastern Conference and you can make a pretty good argument for Houston being as good as the Warriors in the West.
So that made LeBron's shot that much more vital.
As Chris Fedor wrote after the game for the Cleveland Plain Dealer: "If there was any internal debate going into the night about whether to push the chips to the center of the table and gamble on this group of dysfunctional Cavaliers, LeBron James might've helped settle it. He's worth that bet. He's always worth it."
Fedor them put "worth it" into context, which is important for those of us witnessing Cleveland's struggles from afar: "Life with the four-time MVP is drama-filled. He brings headaches, constantly putting pressure on the front office to make win-now moves. He demands that the owner continues to spend wildly. James can be moody, sending out cryptic and passive-aggressive tweets. He sometimes stops the offensive flow, waving off teammates and rejecting play calls so he can attack in isolation. His effort is inconsistent on the defensive end and he tends to chastise teammates even if he's in the wrong. His leadership deserves to be questioned sometimes. And he always wants things his way. And yet, for the Cavs it's all worth it. At least, it should be. Wednesday's game is a reminder."
Then watch the game-winner again, and pretend he didn't do it to your Wolves.