Is there a need to go into a deep analysis of last night’s victory by the Miami Heat over the Indiana Pacers? You watched it. I watched it. If you didn’t watch it, the game can be summarized pretty easily: Lebron James. King James. That is the story of the game.
For those who continue to pick at the edges of his growing legacy, and say, well, he is not as good as Michael Jordan, I laugh. Not because he is as good as Michael Jordan, or isn’t. I laugh because a ball player dominates the ball games and the league for the most part, the most familiar response to his rise is, he is not as good as Michael Jordan. Is that the best retort to offer? That is like someone saying during the heyday of the late Johnnie Cochran, the lawyer, you are a pretty good lawyer but you aren’t as good as Johnnie Cochran. Johnnie Cochran, for those of us who witnessed how he performed in court and out, was the best of the best during a certain period. It is no shortcoming to not quite make his standard.
But truth be told, Lebron James stands alone this year in the league. He is slowly moving past most of the legends of old and if he continues on his current path, he will be someone everyone will be compared to in professional basketball.
For a short period last night, he made every play. Every pass, every rebound, ever shot, all of it, he made it. He defended like a man possessed. He attacked the basket, he shot jump shots, he led the break. When the smoke cleared, his team, down by 4 at the half were up by 12. Game over.
The Indiana Pacers really had no answer. In fact, each team in the league has no answer for this. None. They will have to rely on King James losing his focus or doing his famous deferring to his teammates at crunch time move he has been accused of many times over the years even though he is the guy. Could you imagine Johnnie Cochran during the OJ Simpson trial, telling one of his assistants, you handle closing argument? It wouldn’t and didn’t happen because Johnnie Cochran lived for the moment. Michael Jordan lived for and was always in the moment. Now and then, King James is out of the moment. He drifts mentally. He drifted famously for a game in Boston many years ago and his Cleveland Cavaliers lost. He drifted in Game 2 of this series and his team lost. It is a slight flaw in his game that has caused him some problems.
But in the end, it is all teams have to hope for these days. Lebron James, please lose your focus. Give us a chance to win. Otherwise, the Heat will win this title. Four games, Five games. They will win. The Pacers have no real answers other than this or to hope for some injuries to Heat players. And the Spurs don’t either. Maybe if Dwayne Wade is so injured, he can’t go they can win. But it is one guy’s league right now which probably explains why fewer and fewer people are watching this spectacle; they know how the movie ends.
Photo: Sports Illustrated