LeBron James' virtuoso 61-point game against the Bobcats was something special. Hitting 8-10 from 3 and 22-33 overall with seven rebounds and five assists filled up a statsheet in a way that few have. For the game, he registered an absurd PER of 68.77 (h/t @CoupNBA) the highest in an individual game of his career.
But was it his best game? Here are the five leading contenders:
June 8, 2012: Game 6 against the Celtics
45 points on 19-26 shooting, 15 rebounds and five assists
LeBron's piece de resistance. The make-or-break moment of his career, the defining game. And he not only succeeded, he downright obliterated the Celtics in one of the most dominant 48-minute performances of all time.
February 2, 2008: 52 at Madison Square Garden
52 points on 17-33 shooting, nine rebounds and 11 assists
Scoring 50 at MSG is special. LeBron had already done it once, but he topped it with 52 this time around, along with nine rebounds and 11 assists. You might remember this game as the controversial triple-double that wasn't. Originally credited with a rebound giving him a triple-double, scorekeepers realized the error and LeBron had just a ho-hum 52-9-11 game to show for it instead.
February 3, 2011: 51 against the Magic
51 points on 17-25 shooting, 11 rebounds and eight assists
LeBron's previous best game in a Heat uniform, and his previous high individual game PER before Monday's explosion. With the noise of The Decision still echoing around in Miami during LeBron's first season on South Beach, he reminded everyone how ridiculous he is with a 51-point, 11-rebound, 8-assist game against the Magic, on 17-25 shooting.
March 20, 2005: 56 in Toronto
56 points on 18-36 shooting, 10 rebounds and five assists
The first career-high that is now his second-best scoring game. In it, LeBron became the youngest player in NBA history to score 50 points, and while it came in a losing effort, the message was very clear that night: This guy is going to be special.
May 31, 2007: Game 5 against the Pistons
48 points on 18-33 shooting, nine rebounds and seven assists
The game in Boston was LeBron's defining "leap" game, but this one was certainly something that took him to another stratosphere. He scored the Cavs' final 25 points, and 29 of their last 30 en route to a dramatic double-overtime playoff win over the Pistons.