The knocks on LeBron James’ game have been deafening for the last year.
He isn’t a clutch player and doesn’t show up in the fourth quarter. James settles for jump shots and refuses to attack the basket. He needs to work on a low post game because he is 6-foot 8-inches and 250 pounds but would rather play small ball.
And we can’t forget the most repeated of all: James is not a killer like Michael Jordan was and Kobe Bryant is.
Ladies and gentlemen, LBJ is officially silencing the crowd, the media and his opponents as he tears it up in the 2012 NBA Finals. Not only is he playing just as good in the fourth quarter as the first but he is attacking the basket to score points and grab offensive rebounds.
The beast has been unleashed because he is playing like a man possessed.
In Game 3, he finally scored under 30-points for the first time in the finals — 30 in Game 1 and 32 in Game 2 — but he still filled up the box score with 14 rebounds, five of them offensive, and three assists.
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s James Harden found out James met business in the first quarter as LBJ fought for spacing for an offensive board. James bodied Harden, sucked the ball in and then delivered an easy lay up.
Oh yeah, he was the only Heat player under the rim with three blue jerseys for the rebound.
A couple of offensive possessions before the offensive rebound, the league’s MVP put up three attempts underneath the basket as he banged with Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka. He had his shot block but stayed with it and went up strong for a bucket the third and final time.
These are perfect examples of a man who wants to silence his critics and haters who think he can’t win an NBA Championship.
James has help from Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Shane Battier, but if the Heat win, this will be a James victory more than anything. I’m not saying this is going to be one of the best NBA Finals performances ever, but he is putting up impressive numbers and is willing his team to win in multiple aspects.
Isn’t this what legends are made of?
He has put the majority of the scoring load on his own shoulders, which is something he didn’t want to do last year as he settled for second fiddle behind his superstar teammate, Wade.
His assist numbers are not mind blowing — 4, 5, 3 — but he is looking for cutters, passing the ball and staying away from isolation sets. Battier scored 17 points apiece in the first two games largely because James was drawing Serge Ibaka away from Battier and then giving him the ball for open threes. If he didn’t get the ball directly from James, Battier was a third party recipient.
Heading into the finals the battle of James vs. Durant was the main headline, which it should have been.
At this point, the Thunder’s All-Star small forward is slacking behind his opponent as he isn’t doing half as much as James. Durant is scoring but isn’t getting his team involved much at all since he has five assists for the series, four of which were in OKC’s Game 1 victory.
We all know Durant is a scorer, not a distributor, but when a team is waiting for you to get the ball and is ready to throw the kitchen sink at you, it might be time to switch your game up. 25 points and six rebounds looked good on Game 3’s box score, but the loss and a 2-1 deficit for the series doesn’t look good on anything.
Maybe it’s time to look at James’ performance in this year’s playoffs as a guide book on how to get it done.
No one would of said this a year ago, but when a man is possessed to play the best ball he can in order to help his team win, anything is possible.