Remember back in the preseason when media outlets everywhere, including BlogNBAsketball, salivated over a few preseason highlights of Lebron James scoring in the post? Especially after his work with Hakeem Olajuwon during the Lockout.
Well ,the hype was right for once…LBJ’s post game was the key to advancing to the NBA Finals.
The Boston Celtics and head coach Doc Rivers surely had the mettle to withstand Lebron’s Game 6 performance and respond in Game 7…so why didn’t they? It wasn’t just fatigue and old legs.
The way in which James dominated the penultimate game of the series that was the key. While his gaudy statline didn’t carry over into the next game of the series, the effects certainly did.
In Game 6, Lebron took his game into the post for most of the 2nd quarter. The result was Rivers being forced to switch the bigger Brandon Bass onto him in the 2nd half. Then, from the start of Game 7, Bass was the primary defender on Lebron the entire contest.
The threat of James in the post, a relatively new phenomenon, completely affected the gameplan and strategy of one of the best coaches in the league.
As the Celtics wore down in the 4th quarter of Game 7, it was actually the assault of Lebron from the perimeter that did in ‘the green team’. He was guarded by a much bigger and slower defender in Bass, giving him free reign to attack from the perimeter.
Before The Houston Rockets won 2 championships in the 90′s, they 2 Finals to the Celtics in the 80′s.
Somewhere Hakeem ’The Dream’ is smiling…and thinking of 1986.
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