Denver Nuggets: Playing Lebron James Like Michael Jordan
Take a deep breath reader, this is not going to be another obscure article that tries to convince you that Lebron James is on par with Michael Jordan. Because he’s not, and that’s okay. He does, however, have a tendency to draw a similar level of defensive attention.
A lot of times you just say ‘let Jordan get his and stop the other guys.’ -K.C. Jones
Turns out K.C. Jones game plan has the potential to be the perfect blueprint for the Denver Nuggets Thursday night. As it wasn’t James who lead the Miami Heat over the Nuggets earlier this month, it was Chris Bosh and Ray Allen.
Bosh finished their contest Nov. 3rd with a staggering 40 points on 15 of 22 shooting. Where as Allen tallied 23 points on 8 of 12 from the field and a sizzling 6 for 10 from downtown.
So you might ask yourself what exactly Denver was doing on defense? Well, they were pretty busy trying to stop Lebron James.
James finished the evening being held under 50% from the floor, but still finished with his usual near triple-double. Posting 20 points, 9 rebounds and a game-high 11 assists.
Fortunately, Denver’s head coach George Karl knows a thing or two about limiting superstars in big games. Karl met Michael Jordan in the 1996 NBA Finals while coaching the Seattle SuperSonics. Karl assigned Gary Payton to guard Jordan in the series, and Payton performed admirably holding Jordan under 30 points five consecutive time. It was the only time Jordan was held under 30 points in the playoffs for consecutive games.
Andre Iguodala is going to prove to be tonight’s Gary Payton. He comes into tonight’s match-up averaging over a steal and a block per contest and has arguably solidified himself as the leagues best perimeter defender. Placing him on James the duration of the game and game-planning for the other three future Hall of Famers is really going to be the Nuggets best bet Thursday night.
It also doesn’t hurt that it’s James’ innate instinct to look for his teammates, so forcing him to become a scorer might give him some unwelcome flashbacks to his Finals series against the Dallas Mavericks two years ago.
In short, let Lebron James get his and stop the other guys.
Update* 9:10 PM