Okay, raise your hand if you thought the Boston Celtics would be one win away from knocking the Miami Heat out of the playoffs. Me neither, but I’m thrilled that it’s happening. You mean to tell me LeBron James disappeared in the fourth quarter of a crucial playoff game? What are you going to tell me next, that the sky is blue?
As a Cavaliers fan, LeBron might as well have three sixes painted on his mouthguard instead of the Roman numeral 16. However, as a sports fan, I cannot deny his tremendous talent. Yet as we saw several times in Cleveland, and on the verge of seeing for the second straight year in Miami, talent alone does not win championships. Last night was just the latest example. You take a look at the box score and you see LBJ had 30 points and 13 rebounds and think, hmm, he had a great game. However, as we’ve seen way too many times from a guy of his athletic prowess, he disappeared in the fourth quarter. He had only one basket in the final 8:12 of the game, an uncontested layup in the final seconds with the Celtics trying not to foul with a four point lead. Does this sound like something a three-time MVP would do? Is it too much to expect someone who goes by, among other monikers, The Chosen One (I know that what he’s called because he has that tattooed across his shoulders) to be the best player on the floor at the most crucial time of his team’s season?
I know it took Michael Jordan seven seasons before won an NBA championship, and that Larry’s Celtics and Magic’s Lakers fell short several times in the playoffs. However, when their teams bowed out of the playoffs, it was NEVER because MJ, Larry, or Magic disappeared in crunch time. They wanted the ball. They had that killer instinct that all the greats seem to possess. Something that LeBron has not shown on a consistent basis in the postseason. More often than not during his career we’ve seem LBJ make more of an effort to get his teammates involved late in the game instead of carrying them on his back, like the best player on the planet is expected to do and should do without being asked.
Is LeBron the main reason the Heat lost Game Five? No, but he didn’t do much to help them win when his team needed it most. In the years to come, that’s a line that will be repeated not one, not two, not three…