This is what people people expect LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to do every game. To tell you to the truth? This is what they’ll have to do to make it out of this series and for the Miami Heat to get through the Indiana Pacers and anyone else they might come across in the postseason.
LeBron James was what some said he needed to be – Like in his Cleveland Cavaliers days. Excluding Dwyane Wade, this Miami Heat team is worse than LeBron’s Cavs. So what did James do after losing by 19 to the Pacers? Come out with one of the greatest individual performances in playoff history – Scoring 40 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and dishing 9 assists.
He didn’t even need to be ‘clutch’, because Dwyane Wade was burning in the second half. Even someone outside the big two stepped up – Udonis Haslem, with some big jumpers, finishing with 15 points. Finally, Chris Bosh’s absence wasn’t mentioned for one night of basketball.
In the first half, it was all LeBron, keeping the Heat in the game. But Miami picked up the pace of the game and eventually the Pacers, no matter if they had a small or big lineup, fell off the wagon. James and Wade’s agression and consistent driving to the basket took Roy Hibbert and David West out of the game with foul trouble. That changed the odds back in Miami’s favor.
Wade had the big game he was bound to have at one point. He scored 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Combining for 70 points, that was the duos highest combined output in the postseason since James signed with the Miami Heat. Again, they’re going to need a similar effort to win this series.
The Pacers lost their heads in a game that should have been theirs. Miami couldn’t score for over three minutes after the tip off. Roy Hibbert blocked the lane completely, and the Pacers jumped to 0-9 lead. But they disrespected Miami, most of all Danny Granger, who got hit with a technical for the second time in this series. It’s one thing to try and be aggressive and bring an edge for your teammates to follow. It’s another thing to be outright stupid and lose focus. Granger, despite his 20 points, was the latter.
There was some great defense from the Heat, as Joel Anthony finished with 3 blocked shots and the Heat in total had 9. But it wasn’t a team effort. It was two superstars who gave their best to pull eight more guys along with them. The Pacers were outscored and outrebounded by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in the second half. The question is how this affects them upon returning to Miami.
It’s a question of how shaky the Pacers confidence is, and how much hurt Wade is, and how much LeBron has left in the tank, playing 42.5 minutes a game in the series against the Pacers. Danny Granger spoke at half time about not minding LeBron James scoring 35 as long as they stop the rest of the Heat. But allowing James to score inside has its price. Fouls, and guys eventually left open. Udonis Haslem might have uncorked something for the rest of the Heat minions.
I still think this series is the Pacers to lose. If they remain in the right frame of mind and Frank Vogel isn’t forced to make too many adjustments, they have the better team. James and Wade couldn’t possibly come up with another game, let alone two games, like the one they had in game 4, could they? Actually, never underestimate will power combined with superior ability. This just might be LeBron James’ way of saying and proving how much he deserved that MVP award, and how much more he deserves.