"It felt," LeBron James said, "like I had a golf ball, throwing it into the ocean."

Everything was going in. Everything.

It felt like something LeBron James never previously felt.

"I haven't really grasped what just happened," he said afterward.

By the time it was over, by the time the Miami Heat's All-Star forward made 22 of 33 shots from the field, 8 of 10 3-pointers and 9 of 12 free throws, there was nothing but . . . awe.

"Phenomenal. Amazing. Stupendous. Immaculate," center Chris Bosh said. "That's all."

"It was," forward Shane Battier said, "awesome."

It was arguably the best player taking his game to another level, a level heretofore unseen.

And it wasn't over until James scored a career-high 61 points Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena, the most points ever scored by a Miami Heat player in the franchise's 26 seasons.

It was part of a 124-107 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats, but this was bigger than an eighth consecutive victory for the Heat, or a 16th consecutive victory by the Heat over the Bobcats.

"No one else wanted to shoot it, literally," Battier said, practically marveling that James still found his way to five assists. "We didn't want to shoot his passes. We were passing it right back to him.

"This is what the yogis talk about, about reaching that alternate level of consciousness."

It was early in the second half, as he was beginning what would turn into a 25-point third quarter, that James recognized the magnitude of the moment.

"I knew then it could be one of those nights," he said.

So did coach Erik Spoelstra, who actually was considering pulling James at the end of the third quarter, when the Heat were up 98-79 and James had 49 points, seven below his previous career high and seven below the franchise record Glen Rice had established in 1995 against the Orlando Magic.

"I almost took him out at the end of the third to give him a rest, but he was in a great groove," Spoelstra said. "The rim looked like an ocean to him. The last few possessions, we were trying to design some three-point [shots] for him."