Britain’s greatest player of all-time, Luol Deng, set a Miami Heat franchise scoring record in a 123-91 win against the Charlotte Hornets in game 1 of the NBA playoffs on Sunday night. Though a NBA veteran (and 2-time All-Star), the first-round playoff series is Deng’s first as a member of the Heat and his game-high 31 points registers as franchise record for most points scored in a playoff debut.
Hitting on a barrage of shots from mid-range, at the cup and on out to beyond the arc – Luol was on song all night long – connecting on an incredible 84.6% of his shots from the floor on a memorable night that also saw him celebrate his 31st birthday.
After a 2-year absence from the NBA post-season, due in large part to a serious health-scare that arose from an adverse reaction to a spinal-tap back in 2013 that put the hoops hero’s life at risk, Deng looked positively predatory in his return to playoff action. “I haven’t been in the playoffs in the past two years, but the excitement and atmosphere was great. I appreciate the fact that I’m back and I thought as a team, we were ready” Deng said after the game.
Perhaps a victim of his own unsurpassed career success, Luol’s continued NBA excellence sometimes seems to fly under the radar nowadays, as the media generally looks past the fact that Britain has a bonafide superstar still shining brightly on the worlds biggest basketball stage. However, on this night, Deng sent the world a reminder that he remains at the top of his class and is more than capable of dismantling a team in a variety of ways when the opportunity arises.
We continue to salute the legend and savour the play of the best to ever do it out of the UK. Roll on game 2…
Watch Luol get buckets in the game 1 win: