The little brother keeps leaping, keeps groping, keeps trying.
But LeBron James keeps holding everything – the victories and the trophies – a bit out of reach.
It happened again Thursday, when Kevin Durant overcame an 0-for-7 start and a nasty thud to the floor to score 40 points, including 22 in the second half. It happened again, even as the Thunder converted 33-of-34 shots from the line, and even as their coach, Scott Brooks, finally relented and shelved the superfluous Kendrick Perkins for a smaller lineup that led a comeback from a 23-point deficit.
It happened — this time 110-100 — because James happens to play for the Heat.
And so, you can make it seven straight victories for Miami entering the All-Star break. And you can make it six straight against Oklahoma City, including the final four of the NBA Finals. And you can pretty much start making plans to watch James accept his fourth MVP award this spring.
“He probably had a handful of too many bailouts for us,” Erik Spoelstra said.
He certainly did, but that’s what he does.
The latest superlative stat line: 39 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists.
That point total, tied for his tops for the season, included 10 in the final 1:36 of the first half, as he appeared to energize himself through some trash-talking with courtside fans.
“He told me to shoot it,” James said. “He said, ‘Shoot it, you can’t shoot.’ So I said OK. So I shot it. And I made it. And I made another one. And I made another one. And he stopped talking to me.”