LeBron James’ Quiet Fourth Quarters Being Masked By His Supporting Cast

By Richard Nurse
LeBron James
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After a week of pointed grumbles and subliminal jabs, the Miami Heat finally look like a team willing to sacrifice again — stats, starting spots and preserved health included.

Now if you have been paying attention to Miami’s 2013-14 campaign, there’s no doubt they have shown that LeBron James and company are lacking in the company department. And as a result we’ve seen a lot of shakiness and lack of energy, surrounded by big James outbursts — like dropping 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats and 25 in the first quarter (on 10-of-11 shooting) versus his old buddies in Cleveland.

But the funny thing is, these breakouts have been coming when his supporting cast is at its weakest, minus Dwyane Wade. Add a No. 2 and James is out of the sync that ESPN reported him as saying he backed off to get others into last night:

“I felt it early on but other guys needed to get into a good rhythm as well. But you have to play the course and in the fourth quarter, [Chris Bosh] got it going… so I was able to be the facilitator.”

This is the same role of facilitator that he seemed to scoff at with a healthy D-Wade in the lineup. But what a difference two wins make.

In one, Wade continued to be the fourth quarter closer, Bosh had 11 fourth quarter points in another, Udonis Haslem became a defensive force and Ray Allen had a flashback to his twenties by putting up a pair of 20-point games. All while James’ final 12 minutes have been pretty nonexistent.

But winning cures everything. Which is why we heard no complaints about Greg Oden replacing Shane Battier in the starting lineup. The contributions haven’t been major, but if everyone does their part to chip in Miami could find a way to creep back to being dangerous.

Richard Nurse is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr or add him to your network on Google.

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