Wednesday, May 29, 2013

LeBron James takes control of Eastern Conference Finals

Every once in a while, we have to step back and take a moment to acknowledge LeBron James.  We must recognize who this evil man is and the impact he makes on the game of basketball.  In fact, LeBron James is too great for a nickname.  Let’s stop all this “King James” nonsense, once and for all.  The only word that can sum up LeBron is “unbelievable.”

Sometimes, there isn’t necessarily too much that goes wrong for an opponent.  The lone presence of  James is what goes wrong for them.  The Indiana Pacers may bring their “A-Game” on any given day but there’s one big problem:  the Miami Heat have brought out James to overcome that.

Just when things are going swiftly, LeBron comes out and spoils the show.  Just when you think you have found a spark to the plug, James comes out and electrocutes you.  Just when you find yourself jumping for joy, LeBron comes out and knocks you down on your back side.

James’ play in game 3 made the Pacers think twice about how they can beat the Heat this series.  They seemed to have the answer in the first two games in South Beach:  Paul George locked down James and even forced him to cough up the ball during the crucial finishing seconds of game 2.

Zach Tennen on LeBron James against the Pacers

But then the Heat came out with tremendous energy and urgency in Indiana.  Udonis Haslem was automatic with his jumper, Chris “Birdman” Anderson was finishing plays like he was made for offense, Mario Chalmers was playing like he had Indiana’s defense figured out and D-Wade was in his superstar form while still serving as the second option.

James had only a mediocre statline of 22 points, four rebounds, and three assists, but that didn’t matter.  The moves he made on Paul George screamed, “you can’t stop me!”  And as usual, he opened up the court for everyone else, leaving an elite Indiana defense with their legs crossed.

LeBron James brought out the scary side of the Miami Heat in game 3.  Indiana must beware as that game could have very well been the turning point in this series.  Miami’s athleticism got the best of Indiana: James regularly cruised down the court with the ball and could not be denied.

The Pacers, somehow, have to do a much better job of settling down the pace in game 4.  They need to set the tone of the game from the second the ball is tipped.  Even as great of a defense as they are, it’s tough for Indiana to interfere with the flow of the game.  Roy Hibbert is clearly most effective when he is able to stop a player like James at the basket.  But here’s the problem with that…

Every single Miami starter can consistently knock down the mid-range jumper.  Whether it is Bosh or Haslem, Hibbert has to step out on them.  If he doesn’t, then Haslem can go 8-for-9 with 17 points like he did in game three.

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