Lack of support must irk LeBron

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

LeBron James hung a career-high 56 points on the Raptors yesterday but his Cleveland Cavaliers still couldn't win.

"I had probably the best game of my life, but it means nothing when you come away with a loss," James said.

Vince Carter had some magical days as a Raptor at the Air Canada Centre, but he never got to 56. Arguably, James' game yesterday marked the best individual pro-hoops performance ever seen in Toronto, unless someone playing for, or against, the old Huskies did something we don't know about back in the '40s.

It's easy to imagine what was going through James' mind as he stormed off the court following his club's 105-98 loss to the Raptors. James had played all 48 minutes. He scored more than half his team's points, often in jaw-dropping, breathtaking fashion. The entire Cavs bench had combined to produce only one point.

Can someone say, "Get this kid some help before he kills himself!" But James didn't blast his teammates.

"I thought we played one of the best games we've played in a long time," James said. "Jalen Rose just kept hitting tough shot after tough shot. The ball hit every part of the rim and still went in."

It's not often that Rose scores 30 points and an opponent still outscores him by 26. Be that as it may, it was tough to share James' glass-half-full optimism regarding the Cavs' overall effort.

The Cavs still are hanging onto fifth place in the East with a 34-30 record, but they've lost three games in a row and appear to be coming a tad unglued. They held a players-only meeting on Friday. Man, those things never work.

"Normally (the players) are not very truthful," Cavs coach Paul Silas said. "I've been in those situations as a player. You don't pinpoint the real problems."

Yesterday, Silas benched starting point guard Jeff McInnis, who didn't play the entire game.

"I ain't hurt," said McInnis, who was replaced in the starting lineup by Eric Snow. "I'm definitely healthy, mentally and physically. It's the coach's decision, so you'll have to ask the coach."

CURIOSITY

Silas didn't get specific, muttering something about defence and saying he simply has to find guys who are willing to step up. James, however, expressed significant curiosity over the McInnis situation.

"(McInnis) would have had a big impact (yesterday)," James said. "I haven't got all the inside (information) about what's going on. I have to get the coach's side of the story and then get Jeff's side of the story."

McInnis notwithstanding, the big story yesterday was James. The list of things he accomplished is lengthy:

- James, 20, became the youngest player in NBA history to score 50 points. The old record was held by Rick Barry, who was 21 when he scored 57 points in a game in 1965.

- James broke the single-game mark for the Cleveland franchise, which previously was held by Walt Wesley (50 points in a 1971 game).

- James posted career-highs not only in points, but in field goals made (18) and three-pointers made (six).

- He set the record for most points scored by a Raptors opponent, which previously was held by Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers (51 points in an overtime game in 2001).

Even Silas, who gets to watch James every day, expressed amazement.

"The threes were raining, he was making his free-throws, everything he was doing, just superb," Silas said. "Ten rebounds, five assists. You couldn't stop him. I just wish we could have won."

James echoed that sentiment.

"I don't care about stats," James said. "It was disappointing to have as good a game as I had and still lose."

Disappointing, eh? That surely was the nicest one-word description rolling around in James' head.

How about criminal?


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