JamesTuesday night offered more evidence that whenever some incredible on-court feat leaves you asking "when is the last time an NBA player did this?,” the answer is often simpler than it seems. If it’s not Wilt Chamberlain, he's at least somewhere on the list.
LeBron James recorded 27 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in the Miami Heat‘s 102-90 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. James’ 32nd career triple-double came against a franchise whose uniform he wore for 619 games, a franchise he led to the 2007 NBA Finals, a franchise he was a member of when he won back-to-back NBA MVP Awards.
After the obvious questions of where James ranks among this season’s triple-double leaders (first, with four), where he ranks among active players in triple-doubles (second) and his team’s record when he has a triple-double (24-8), the following question was posed: “when was the last time a player recorded a triple-double against a team he won an MVP Award with?”
Most Career Triple-Doubles Active Players
As you’ve undoubtedly figured out by now, the answer is Wilt Chamberlain. In fact, the Elias Sports Bureau tells us he’s the only other player to satisfy that criteria. But Wilt didn’t dominate a team he had previously won an MVP with just once. Chamberlain was traded from the San Francisco Warriors to the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1964-65 season, a move the Warriors would come to regret. On four separate occasions, Chamberlain posted a triple-double against the Warriors, with whom he won his first NBA MVP Award in 1960.
Despite LeBron’s historic effort, the Cavaliers beat the Heat by 12 to earn their first double-digit win this season. Every other team has at least four wins by 10 or more points. Should Cleveland not win one of its nine remaining games by double-digits, the Elias Sports Bureau says the Cavaliers would be just the second team ever to have fewer than two double-digit wins in a season. Cleveland would join the 1997-98 Toronto Raptors (one). It’s quite a drop-off from last season, when LeBron led the Cavaliers to 32 double-digit wins.
Elsewhere in the NBA on Tuesday:
• The Houston Rockets pulled within two games of the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 112-87 win over the New Jersey Nets. It was the Rockets' second 25-point win of the season and first in more than four months. Houston beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 120-94 on November 7.