Biggest game of his life, Game 5? Well, we’re over it. It was a triple double performance from James. Not bad, right? Well, when you lose, go down 3-2 in the NBA Finals, when you score only two kind of garbage time points in the fourth quarter, when you average 2.2 points in five fourth quarter, when Dirk Nowitzki is averaging over 8 points, in sickness and in health, when the cameras catch you mocking Nowitzki for faking his fever and coughs, it’s pretty bad.
The villains are about to meet their doom. The main bad guy is stumbling, failing, falling. He was incredible in the Bulls series, it was all him. It ended there. LeBron James stepped aside and let Dwyane Wade be the finisher, be the GO to guy. He hasn’t woken up, because Wade can’t win this series on his own. LeBron James, again we say, needs to wake up from whatever and wherever he’s in, and start playing great basketball.
Hey, you all remember that game, May 31, 2007. Game 5 in the Eastern conference finals, Pistons vs the Cavs. LeBron James scored 25 consecutive points to close the game, including the winning lay up, against a much better team, against a much better defense. A performance that was referred to as “Jodan-esque” by Steve Kerr and Marv Albert if I’m not mistaken.
Miami don’t need 48 points from LeBron James. There are two All-Star players next to him, one of them a future hall of famer, a Finals MVP, the only one in this series. But I still believe, despite the mounting evidence pointing otherwise, that LeBron James is the best player in this series, the man who can win it for the Heat if something just clicks. If he starts playing faster, stops posting up 25 feet away from the basket, if he starts driving, being more aggressive.
Maybe, unlike to what I thought earlier, he needs less time with Wade on the court. It won’t happen probably, but who knows. LeBron James was at his best when he played without Wade and sometimes Bosh. He was the floor general, dishing assists and hitting long jumpers. That momentum rolled and carried into the fourth quarter, building that 99-95 lead before the landslide crumbling ending.
Back to 2007 – LeBron had only himself to trust on that team. Maybe he needs it that way again. He was a media darling back then, the chosen one, the big promise. He’s live up to that promise in regular seasons – Two MVP awards, the perfect pick for a fantasy team. All the skills, all the flair. It all changed this summer, and it looked, after a long up and down season, that James and the Heat were entering the final in perfect shape. The defense looking impenetrable, the offense still with glitches, but with two guys who could solve anything anytime. No more. Since the Game 3 ending, it’s all been glitches and one long painful slump.
You read a lot of stuff focusing on these two teams, mostly on Miami, a bit on Nowitzki, a bit on Terry. Nothing else to read and write about regarding basketball and NBA in June. Some say that the Heat’s role players haven’t stepped up. Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller. That’s true, although Chalmers did score 15 points last game. His defense has been disappointing when facing Barea. Mike Miller is either completely awful or good, no in between. Doesn’t matter. When it comes down to it, the final minutes, the ball is in LeBron James’ hands. He makes the wrong decisions, takes the bad shots or just hides from them, waiting for Wade to come up with the answers and the win.
LeBron likes to talk before games, in front of the camera, in front of his teammates, about having their backs against the wall. In Game 3 it worked, not so much in Game 4 & 5. You wanted your biggest game? You have two of them now, two MUST wins, with a capital Must. No turning back, no hiding behind Wade and feeding other guys, hoping they’ll put up an assist to his name. He has to take the reigns, from the get go, for 44-48 minutes, be relentless. It’s too early to say if another pathetic performance in the fourth quarter, at home, will have any huge impact on the rest of his career. We never thought Nowitzki and Kidd could make a title run for one last time. Still, if he fails again this time…