Last night everyone bared witness to one of the greatest playoff performances by 2-time MVP, Lebron James. His dominance on both sides of the ball reminded many of the ability he possess to be one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game. Although there will be many pundits who will question his ‘clutch gene’ his play last night officially anointed him as the new leader of the Miami Heat and relegated Dwayne Wade to sidekick status.
For the first time in his career Lebron appeared focused on the task at hand, undeterred by fatigue and the trash talk by his opposition. Throughout the night Boston Celtics Coach Doc Rivers changed his defensive sets and on guard defenders to no avail: Paul Pierce’s sprained knee made him a step to slow, Michael Pietrus could not resist his head fakes, and Brandon Bass was unable to stay in front of this focused freight train whose quest for a Game 7 in South Beach appearing inevitable.
In the past Lebron has been criticized for being immature and afraid of the big moment, but last night’s performance left little doubt as to what he can accomplished when he is zoned in on the task at hand. However, with Game 7 on the horizon the need for him to repeat this performance may be necessary for the Heat to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals to face the Oklahoma City Thunder.
On his broad shoulders Lebron is not only caring his on legacy but the future of the Heat franchise as well. If the Heat lose tomorrow to the Celtics, wholesale changes are on the horizon and the future of the Big Three will certainly be in doubt. However, if the Heat reach the NBA Finals and hoist the Dave O’Brien Trophy at season’s end, all will be forgotten and talks of fulfilling the promise of multiple championships will reverberate from the lips of fans and pundits everywhere.
If Lebron thought he was under pressure last night, that pressure has just been multiplied by ten for the South Beach Showdown. How he responds to this pressure will cause a ripple effect that will impact every franchise in the NBA. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)