LeBron James’ Cavalier Effort Keeps Heat On Pacers

LeBron James has always gotten a fair, even-handed shake here.  If you scroll through the archives of my prior Miami Heat posts, you’ll find:

1. I think “The Decision” was handled in the worst possible way he could have handled it.

2. I think “The Disco Party” celebrating “The Decision” was the worst possible thing he could have done immediately after making “The Decision.”

3. I think he can be one of the all-time greatest basketball players ever but he simply hasn’t brought his “A” game when it has been most needed, frustrating me further by the way he has recently gone about his business when those times have been upon him.

Yesterday in Indianapolis…with Chris Bosh out and Dwyane Wade looking as drained as the knee he apparently had drained earlier in the week…LeBron James put the Miami Heat franchise on his very broad shoulders and willed Game 4 from the Indiana Pacers, 101-93.

Of course the Heat would not have won if not for the timely re-awakening of Wade…as well as a resurgence from a previously, equally quiet Udonis Haslem.  Yet, I choose to believe James’ super-human effort helped rev up both of these guys.  LeBron was finding every way possible to get Dwyane jump-started…and Udonis became desperate to find his game once his teammate of nine years found his.

And desperate it was, for if the Heat had failed to win Sunday after Thursday’s pitiful exhibition in Indy who knows if Miami puts together three straight wins against this Pacers club, a gritty team that scratches and claws from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

James’ court carnage calculated out to 40 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists…Wade’s 30 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.  At one point, between them they scored 38 consecutive points.  Yet it was Haslem’s trio of mid-range jumpers in crunch time that finally punched out Indiana’s opportunity to take a 3-1 series lead.  Ironic in that Udonis was punched out earlier in the game and required nine stitches over his eye.  That probably didn’t hurt his motivation level either.

LeBron haters will dine on the fact the game was just an appetizer and not the NBA Finals…their entree will be he had another superstar play one of his greatest games to assist…the dessert is the opponent was “just” the up-and-coming Indiana Pacers and not a “real” challenge.

Whatever.  Chew on all that if you like.

Those who haven’t made LeBron James “personal” will tell you he played one of the greatest NBA Playoff games ever.  If you saw it, you didn’t need either his final stats or the historical research after the fact to know this.  All you had to do was watch.  The man would not be denied…and he clearly wasn’t going to let Wade be denied either, looking to create multiple chances to feed him the ball until he got his confidence and rhythm back.  James’ eyes were laser-like; his steely focus etched on his face each trip up and down the court.

Speaking towards Wade’s motivation outside of the way James went off…he was fouled awkwardly by Indiana’s Roy Hibbert and when he challenged that fact in galloped the Pacers’ Danny Granger to get in Dwyane’s grill.

This wasn’t the first time Granger tried to goad Miami into a macho showdown in this series.

He might want to make that his last.  The timing of that event and Dwyane’s resurgence seemed to also be relevant.

When Chris Bosh was injured, many folks thought James would then have to spend most of his time down low battling the Pacers’ bigs.  Well, whether or not it was Wade’s time with his old college coach Tom Crean on Friday…or his time with his current pro coach Eric Spoelstra on Saturday and Sunday…or James himself…maybe front-office guru Pat Riley even…SOMEONE figured out both LeBron and Dwyane needed to start moving and weaving in and around those bigs.  They needed to move, move and move some more…getting Indiana’s post players outside their comfort zone, screened away from the basket…and losing all contact with James and Wade in the process.

James’ detractors will also be quick to tell you it’s just one win…and the Pacers were in the game to the very end.  Both are true.

Hey, no one knows how this series will play out.  But one thing all reasonable, clear minds should be able to agree on is…yesterday we got the LeBron James we assume we’ll see most days once the NBA post-season begins.  The same LeBron James we saw in certain Playoff games back when he was wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers uni.

Yesterday he had a game for the record books.  But you didn’t need to see any records from it.

You just had to see him perform.

With an open mind of course…

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26 Responses to LeBron James’ Cavalier Effort Keeps Heat On Pacers

  1. The LeBron we got was extremely good but it’s the supporting cast beyond James and D-Wa-de that has me worried ! Which one turns up for the next game ? Got any clues ?

    Kobe’s rebuking Pau Gasol for not being more aggressive . But it’d also help if Bryant put his foot in the a_s of the rest of his teammates as well don’t you think ?

    • Al, I have no issue with Kobe continuing to push Gasol and Bynum both behind the scenes and in the press…because these two are frustrating to watch, especially Pau. He always seems to come up small in the post-season – he did so before he even got to L.A. That being what it is, some of those shots Kobe was firing up at the end of the last game seemed to make it quite clear he doesn’t think he has the motor to get around people anymore and has to settle for jumpers. I don’t know if another ring is in his future either with a new cast…or the one he presently has…no matter what off-season moves are made. I don’t think Bryant has all HIS moves left.

  2. Steven Jeffries says:

    I admit I have to correct an error in judgement. Like many, I thought Miami would take it all this year. And they seem to be making corrections in gameplay to compensate for Bosh.

    Now, however, I believe the Heat will fall to the Spurs. They just do things more right, more often. It will, however, be a 6 or even 7 game fight

    • I am very curious to see what the Thunder can do against the Spurs. San Antonio hasn’t been challenged yet. Their potential NBA title series may be in front of them right now.

  3. Steven Jeffries says:

    Reblogged this on stevenjeffries and commented:
    Good coverage on the Heat/Pacers!

  4. sports’

    The Lakers’ fans can take solace in the fact that Bynum in his postgame interview states he doesn’t care where he plays next season . However the organization has a $16.3 option on the center that they will undertake . MWP for his part stated that he’ll be back better than ever next season ready to play . The fact that he’s now slower than a snail and Westbrook amongst others on that Thunder team had their way with him , showed that his basketball IQ has dropped immensely. Mike Brown is absolutely clueless at this present moment in time. He simply doesn’t know what his best starting 5 just happens to be and in terms of a playing strategy , he’s like a ship adrift at sea waiting for a gust of wind to blow it in some direction ….. anywhere .

  5. No doubt James was spectacular on Sunday. His performance reminded me alot of Russell Westbrook’s Game 4 performance versus the Lakers on Saturday. Both the Pacers and the Lakers had multiple chances to put the Heat and Thunder away in those Game Four matchups. However, James and Westbrook both helped to “weather the strom” and not allow those games to get out of hand for their respective teams.

    In regards to James, I still I believe that he can will the Heat to the NBA Finals. He is (and always has been) such a dynamic player. However, the way the Spurs are playing right now could deter James from another NBA title. These next couple weeks will be fun to watch.

    Great stuff!

    • The Conference Finals should both be extremely competitive. The only question many will now ask is…is the Western Conference Final really the series that determines the NBA champ? Can anyone out of the East…even a Heat squad with an energized James and Wade…defeat SA or OKC?

      • I think the Heat would stand a better chance against the Thunder than the Spurs. Either way, you are certainly correct by saying that either team would (and should) be the favorite once they advance to the NBA title series.

  6. Whomever comes out the East ( Celtics , Heat , Pacers ) in terms of their bench they simply don’t possess the depth in that category to match up with either the Spurs or Thunder .

  7. Like Las Vegas, I still have the Heat as favorites to win it all.

    Things are actually lining up quite nicely for them, if you’re a glass half-full kind of guy.

    The Celtics have been forced to a seventh game and the Thunder and Spurs are about to duke it out in a Western Conference Finals that should exhaust both teams.

    I’m not jumping off the Heat bandwagon just yet.

  8. chappy81 says:

    I think I started rooting for Lebron after he got so much HEAT after last years finals. It’s not like he wanted to lose, at least I don’t think he did. I’ve found myself instead of analyzing what he does wrong, just enjoying what he does.

    • I admit I still watch LeBron carefully for what he doesn’t do in certain situations and will call him on it…but I am also the first one to heap praise upon him when deserved. I think that constitutes an open mind when it comes to him.

  9. That is great. Thanks for sharing Chappy!

  10. sports’

    Failure wasn’t meant to be an option for the Lakers this postseason and now MWP will be taking his teammates with him when he attends his next psychotherapy session . Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch !

    ;) MWP the Lakers were never the best team in the NBA at no time during the season !

    Gasol has Mommy issues ………………. he’s in needs of a lactating mother . Bynum on the other hand just doesn’t care. Excuses , excuses , so typical from the Lakers’ organization ! Should we expect anything else ?

  11. The guys behind “The Decision” …. weren’t they the very same ones who managed Newt Gingrich’s failed campaign attempt at the GOP Presidential nomination ? Is he still accepting money from both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ? Almost $ 2 million to give them historical advice as how best to lose billions of dollars that the taxpayer in the end will “foot the bill” . How quaint of Newt !

    • The guys behind “The Decision” shouldn’t be in charge of anything ever again. Aside from the charity money raised, no good came of it whatsoever and all involved looked ridiculous.

      • You’re preaching to the choir .

        I hear Nick Fairley’s explanations for his two recent run-ins with the law was a case of mistaken identity ? Busted for marijuana last month and now a second speeding at 125 mph in a 55 mph zone and once again he’s in possession of a controlled substance. That’s going down well with the Lions don’t you think ? What he’s now taking behavioral advice from Ndamokung Suh ? I hear Goodell hasn’t made a decision as to what sort of punishment will be rendered to the Lions’ defensive player but there’s talk of forcing him to take up needlepoint classes ?

  12. Pretty nasty in Game One against Boston too.

    Ouch!

  13. Did Rondo “call out ” LBJ and D-Wade ? Pity the smack talk” isn’t being backed by the Celtic’s play in this series

    . So Phil ” Lefty “ Mickelson wants to follow in Magic Johnson’s footsteps and own an MLB franchise ? He and the grandchildren of the late Walter O’Malley are intent on buying the majority stake of managing partner John Moores’ shares in the San Diego Padres . Surely , Phil with his estimated wealth could be induced in buying something more worthwhile don’t you think , rather the mediocre Padres ?

  14. Blog Surface says:

    We’re a bit late but what the heck…. it was hilarious how D. Howard acted as if he did not have any idea what just happened. Everyone knew the guy threw a party when Stan was axe’d.

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