As I watched the fourth quarter of Game Seven through my fingers, there was only one thing I kept repeating, over and over, like a mantra – “What does LeBron’s face look like? What face does he have?”
Was he sporting the “checked out zombie” look or was he sporting the “totally dialled in and this game is mine and you cannot possibly stop me” face?
The following quote answers the question completely:
“That was a back breaker for us,” said Rivers of James’ three. “He in particular played a very smart, aggressive game. He let the game come to him, and then down the stretch he took the game over. That’s what great players do.”
Rivers is of course referring to the 30 footer that James shot with a hand in his face and then stood, watching with his follow through raised as he knew instantly the ball was going in. How many players in the league would have taken – and made – that shot? By any calculation it is an extremely short list.
As he did in Game 6, James did not back down when the pressure got intense – rather, he found a gear he has rarely hit before. He finally showed that he knows exactly what needs to be done to win a title. There was no quit, not even when the Heat got down early. He set the tone defensively and on offense he created nearly everything for the team. Moreover though, LeBron did whatever it took to win. When they needed a bucket he took it coast to coast; when they needed a rebound he skied for it; when someone had to be shut down, he shut them down; when they needed a dagger he nailed a ridiculous thirty footer. His face said it all, and thus so did his teammates faces. We are not going to lose was his mantra, repeated over and over through his actions. On the bench during timeouts he did deep yoga breathing in order to keep his composure and remain locked in.
Finally, LeBron understands. Finally, we are seeing exactly what he is capable of – dare we say that for the first time we are seeing LeBron’s ceiling?
LeBron’s inspiring play helped lift the games of Chris Bosh (who was absolutely instrumental in this win, particularly with his shooting and tenaciously aggressive defense in the paint) and DWade who, along with the other members of Miami’s Big Three scored the team’s final 31 points.
Yet LeBron led the way, start to finish. Before the game he even told the team in their huddle that it was their game, and they were going to win. I suspect it was one of the first times this season that Wade has taken a secondary role. Power has been transfered and it is incredibly clear after one of the greatest series long performances ever that Miami is once and for all, LeBron James’ team.
Win or lose.