Tuesday night was a must win for Dallas – Friday, when I drop my rant on Game 5, if Miami wins it…series over! Got 2 games left, they’d lead 3-2 going home…series is over! All the pressure in the world is still on Dallas – Miami has done their job, they’re getting 2 games at home. My takeaway though? I still think Miami is the better team, I still think they control the series. All these games are in the mid to low 80’s, that’s exactly what Miami wants…it is exactly what they want.
But the bigger story Wednesday morning was: What the hell happen to Lebron James? Because in all 4 games, Miami has controlled the tempo of the games because it wasn’t just that the Miami Heat missed their final 9 field goal attempts – bigger issue is, Lebron was disengaged. Listen, D-Wade was atrocious in a couple of games against Chicago – but he was engaged. I mean, Derrick Rose had bad games but he was engaged, and it’s not about points. I don’t care if Lebron doesn’t score big points – if he had 4 points in the 4th, 6 assists, and 3 huge rebounds and hit a big free throw – it’s all good brotha! It all goes to the scoreboard. But Lebron was just not in the game, he didn’t even want to be in the moment…why?
First of all, he’s played 44 minutes a game – averaging 44 minutes in the playoffs, which is about 4 more a night that D-Wade. Is he tired? Probably doesn’t help…but I am not buying it, he’s a human being, and he plays on both ends of the floor. Is disengaged and tired? Dirk Nowitzki had the flu…maybe he didn’t want to get that! I’m not buying that either. To me Tuesday night – and I’ve got a psychological argument and I’m kinda guessing here. First off all the good news is – and there is no excuse, Lebron deserves criticism today. I don’t care if its points because the world is infatuated with comparing him to Michael Jordan and points – I’m not. Just get rings!!! These Miami guys, believe it or not, are not consumed with MJ – they want to win this thing and they’ve proven all year long. They want Bosh to score, they want Wade to score – they don’t care, they just want the rings! But Tuesday night was weird.
I mean, Lebron didn’t take shots! For the record, he didn’t play great defense down the stretch and that’s why I kinda wonder…is he tired? Because even when Lebron has disappeared offensively – and this is not a great Miami team and Lebron is not the world’s best closer. We all know he’s closer to Magic than he is to Michael. But when he doesn’t play great defense, that’s when I start to think…is he shot? Is he tired? Is he playing too many minutes? Cause he didn’t have any energy down the stretch and I’m not using that as an excuse, but Lebron always plays terrific defense. Is he pouting?
Now, the good news is that Lebron manned up after the game “I think the fact that it happened during a loss is the anger part of it, you know? That’s all that matters to me. If I had 8 points and we won the game – I would say I really wouldn’t care about all of this. So, the fact that I could’ve done better offensively to help our team….that’s the anger part about me. But, I’ll come back in Game 5 and do things that need to be done to help our team win” What’s strange though – is your watching that game Tuesday night and I’m sitting there watching the 4th and I’m saying to myself “is Lebron on the floor?” Even when D-Wade was terrible against Chicago or Derrick Rose struggled – you knew he was on the floor. When you’re a superstar, you’ve got to be there. Listen, Dirk Nowitzki wasn’t shooting the ball great – but he’s there! Even when Dirk misses he’s drawing double teams and that’s the thing about Lebron. He is so great at so many things beyond points; he didn’t give you any of them last night!
Like if you were a really good employee – on average 4 days a week, you’re really good when you go to work. Maybe once every 2 weeks you mail in a stinker. We wouldn’t say “well that’s who Bob is…he’s a stinker!” You’d say “Bob was off his game today…cause Bob is usually good.” But in Lebron, Tuesday night – I got some emails “well Andrew, that’s who he is!!! I mean, he did it in Game 5 against the Celtics last year” So basically your willing to define Lebron on 2 instances – not the 74 other playoff games he’s been dominate?
The Chicago series – he carried the team, Philadelphia and Boston series as well. You Lebron haters just sit on the sidelines – basically you hide, and then if he’s bad you fly in with no courage and say “well this is who he is…I always knew it!” Tuesday night is not what Lebron is…it’s the exception! Kobe had a game like this or two, Kobe quit a couple of times – and I don’t know if Lebron quit. I don’t think he quit, I just think he’s exhausted and I think he’s got a lot of stuff going on above the shoulders.
But its interesting, the Lebron haters take the absolute exception and they paint that as who he is. So let me ask you… are you a lousy worker if once every 14 days at work you just don’t get it done? You’d be offended if I labeled you that!! Its funny how we label people we dislike with labels we would be absolutely furious if people labeled us with those same labels. Listen; what happen to Lebron Tuesday night – disengaged, has not happened more than once in his career. He came right outta high school and dropped 20 a game for a terrible team. By his 2nd year until this year, he was 28/29 a game. Goes to Miami – knows he’s going to score about 4 or 5 points less a game, but he’s going to contribute in other ways and he’s going to win titles.
By the way, it should be noted for all the Lebron haters …they’re in the NBA finals, 3 games left ( 2 of them in Miami). For all you haters, he is exactly where he wanted to be. In the finals, 3 games left with 2 at home. So let’s not make Tuesday night into “that’s what Lebron is…it absolutely defines him!” No it doesn’t!!! No more than Kobe’s game against the Suns in the playoffs several years ago – where he took only 1 shot in a half, defines him. No more than Tom Brady’s game against the Jets in the playoffs defines him. I mean, Peyton Manning has had a ton of dog games in big games. Don’t we still consider him the 2nd or 3rd best QB all time?
Why do you think every bad game with Lebron, we say “he’s no longer MJ?” we don’t do that with anybody else in the league! It has to be because he’s that good!! And whereas Kobe was built like MJ and played like MJ, we almost think that Lebron was given so many natural gifts – physically bigger than MJ, taller, thicker, bigger and stronger, just ask quick…we almost think in our heads “he should be better than MJ “I mean, he’s got all these natural gifts – Michael stayed in college for 3 years, Lebron went from high school to the pro’s and was dropping 20 a game…that’s with no college! So I think that the standard that we hold Lebron to is just cartoonish