The same question that we asked before Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals is the one that everyone will ask tonight. Will LeBron James come out passing like Magic Johnson or scoring like Michael Jordan?
If it were up to me, I would pick neither.
That’s not to say that he’s a better player than either. It’s not even a comparison — so before you NBA historians start clutching your chests, just think of that question as a metaphor for James’ aggression.
The more James finds the open man, the more the fans clamor for more. That is until his guys start missing and the fast-paced offense slows down. Then everyone wants him to score.
He could do a little bit of everything, but that still wouldn’t be enough.
I know this because18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists weren’t enough — especially in a loss. We didn’t care if he was efficient; we wanted to see glimpses of the LeBron James Show. You know, the same James that had Jordan in his eyes when he buried the Boston Celtics in Game 6 and single-handedly carried the Indiana Pacers to the brink.
That’s the Cleveland James that many Miami Heat fans want to see — the guy that forces the action. However others would love to see him go with his first instinct and get others involved like he’s done for Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade when their games have gone in the gutter.
It’s really a no win situation either way.
“He’s a grown man,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said via ESPN.com. “He doesn’t need any of you to tell him anything. He knows more than all of you put together. He understands the game. If he makes a pass and you all think he should have shot it, or he shoots it and you think he should have made a pass, your opinions mean nothing to him, as they should not mean anything to him.”
James will probably never admit it, but no matter how much he tries to “unplug,” the constant criticism is bound to have him fired up for the next games. And all he really has to do is go out there and be himself.
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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.