Thank you, dude, for reminding us why you are the best player in the NBA right now. For a little while we had all forgotten what it was like to see you actually perform in crunch time. Some of us were scared you would never be able to bring it with the game on the line again. Then after a season of being completely paralyzed in the last few minutes of each and every game (including the all-star game) for whatever reason you brought it last night.
I could not have been happier – or more relieved to see this kind of performance out of you LBJ. All season long we have doubted that something like this (scoring the final 17 points of the game to lead the Heat to victory) was still in you. For much of your time in Miami it has seemed like you were fully contented to coast to several championships by performing only in the first 45 minutes and then leaving any late game heroics to DWade. You won the game for your team but even if you had come up short last night LeBron I would have been happy. Just to see you willing to take the shots and score the points in the end of a close game fills my heart with joy. For many kids growing up today please remember that you are probably the best basketball player any of them will ever see. They absolutely need to see you play like you did the postseason against Boston and Chicago on a regular basis.
Last night’s game has brought us to a harsh truth LBJ.
The Miami Heat are the NBA’s best team – when DWade is not in the lineup.
I know, I know, trust me when I say I know. Wade is the NBA’s Godfather, a man who has pulled the strings of the league and put together one of the best teams ever (on paper) that is ironically much better when he is not fighting in the halfcourt with LeBron for shots. No player in the NBA has the ability to shape a game like you LeBron. Whether you decide to dominate from the outset, or take a backseat role, your impact is enormous. Take the NBA Championship last year – with a semi good game from you at any point in the series, you have a ring. Instead? You spent most of the season afraid to do what you have always done in crunch time. Your ability to maniplulate the game is something unseen since Jordan. Whenever you step back, so do the Heat. Whenever you step up? The Heat rise. When Wade is on the court, the “my turn” routine sucks the life out of the team and is killing your chance at raising the banner in Miami.
So LeBron, here is the truth: you alone can shape the NBA Playoffs. Last night was a good preview (I am feverishly crossing my fingers and knocking on the walls) of what you are capable of doing. With the game, the season and the title on the line you have to be willing to step up and take the shot. If that fails? So be it.
Otherwise maybe a trade somewhere in the West would be a good idea? Your ability to lift subpar teammates would allow you to carry virtually any franchise to title contention. All along we have doubted that you have “it”. You frequently tantalize us and then pull back but we know it is in you. You may have thought running to Miami would make winning easy but here you need to step up even more. Unless you fully seize the reins from Wade and take over the team, you will forever be a bridesmaid.
And never a bride.