As Jeff Van Gundy said during Game 6 last night: “this is beyond great”.
It wasn’t in reference to the Boston fans, who chanted LET’S GO CELTICS for what felt like 30 minutes of garbage time. That, too, was was beyond great.
No, this blog is all about two words: Lebron…James.
From the pregame warm-ups you couldn’t help but notice an intensely serious look from LBJ. He was as focused as I’ve ever seen him (NBA Finals included). Gone were the inside jokes with his teammates and that endorsement-driving smile. All that remained was an intense focus…and an attitude.
The attitude I’m talking about is that of expecting greatness of one’s self. No hype, no props…just do you….and Lebron did exactly that.
It so reminded me of Kobe Bryant’s demeanor that I had purple n’ yellow goosebumps all over my arm.
James came out with a purpose last night, and that was to destroy the Boston Celtics. In the first quarter he did his usual array of jumpers and drives…only even better.
Then, in the 2nd quarter, he took his assault into the post. He owned that left block for about 6 minutes straight…and owned anyone who tried to guard him, too.
The man had 30 points in the first half and didn’t even crack a smile. Now that’s Kobe-esque.
Doc Rivers countered defensively with the bigger Brandon Bass to start the second half. James then went back to the perimeter….moving off of screens and getting into the lane.
The biggest moment for me, though, was the final 3 minutes of the 3rd quarter. It was a 12-point game that Boston then cut down to 10. Lebron walked over to the bench and yelled “give me the ball!”. He responded by leading his team out of that tough stretch and the Heat were up 13 when vthe buzzer sounded to end the quarter. The Celtic run for the night was over.
Thanks to a couple of Dwyane Wade buckets to start the 4th (one off a Lebron mid-air pass) the lead ballooned to above 20 and there it stayed.
Lebron finished the game with a Wilt Chamberlain-like 45 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists. No, seriously, Wilt was the last guy to have that kind of gaudy stat-line…nearly 50 years ago.
Oh, and did I mention Lebron’s efficient 19 for 26 shooting? Kobe Bryant wishes he had that shooting percentage in a game.
Memo to Juwan Howard, aka ‘the gangsta of shootaround’: this is how you brush off being called a choker (see Lance Stephenson for more details).
No talk, just basketball.
BlogNBAsketball is on Facebook, like it here