We all thought LeBron James had vanquished his playoff demons after he hoisted his first championship. He finally had the team and had improved enough to firmly start cementing his legacy. No longer would he hear the complaints about him vanishing in fourth quarters or his inability to hit free throws in the clutch. Last year, it was time to celebrate this final coronation of the king and prepare for the long rule he would soon cast on the NBA.
The regular season went according to plan as he attained his fourth MVP award coming one vote shy of being the first unanimous selection ever. His Miami Heat achieved marks that would go up in the record books. They had a 66 win season which only took a backseat to seven teams in NBA history, culminated by a 27 game win streak that had only been outdistanced by Wilt Chamberlain’s Los Angeles Lakers in 1972.
We arrived at the playoffs and saw LeBron and company drill through the weak Milwaukee Bucks and dismantle the heavily injured Chicago Bulls. The King asserted his dominance over his domain in these series, averaging close to 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per game. The Heat looked like an indestructible force of nature up until they faced the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers exposed that the other big two in major playoff series, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, weren’t much better than what LeBron had with the Cleveland Cavaliers in Daniel “Boobie” Gibson and Anderson Varejao. Through the seven game series Wade and Bosh only broke 20 points collectively twice and truly showed up in Game 7 of the series.
LeBron, however, was exceptional during the conference Finals having to make up for the other major players’ lack of scoring. He averaged nearly 30 a game throwing on his Superman cape when the Pacers seemed like the bigger, stronger, and younger team. During the NBA Finals, however, the San Antonio Spurs have found his kryptonite.
Just like the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio before, the Spurs have found the majority of their success in making James a consistent jump shooter. James, who is one of the leaders of the league in efficiency, hasn’t found a way to solve this defense yet, shooting a pitiful 39% from the field.
San Antonio has dared the rest of the Miami Heat to make plays. They are content in making the almost mythological LeBron James look pedestrian in rebuffing his opportunities for fast break points relegating him to the below average jump shooter he is.
For Miami to win this series they need a Herculean effort from James. Too bad they are only getting an Achilles with his heel cut off.