LeBron James the Difference

James

LeBron James is one of the most dominant forwards in the game right now. Therefore, James’s contribution to each series in the NBA Playoffs will be the difference between a three-peat or not. Sports analysts and fans alike are already declaring King James the best forward of all time if the Miami Heat three-peat. That is a tall order, but the Heat are hell bent on making the happen. If the Heat is successful, this accomplishment will definitely put James in very good company. The reason is many teams have not done this in recent years since the Lakers and Bulls. There will continue to be debate surrounding this very talented player. However, all those subtle whispers do not discredit him in the least bit. His credentials speak for themselves.

Ever since James’s arrival in 2010, he has been the difference in this Miami team. He stepped into a franchise that had not seen playoff success since 2006, and he helped transform it. After taking charge of the team with Dwayne Wade’s blessing in the 2011-2012 season they clinched a title. It was not an easy win, but he stepped up and motivated his teammates to do the same.

The leadership and motivation that he provides on the court, as the Heat’s captain, is the guidance they require. James averages 27.5 points, 6.9 assist, and 7.1 rebounds per game. This combined effort that he provides on both ends of the court increases to another level in the playoffs. He averages about 43.1 minutes in the post season, and most of that time is spent in the first and second quarter. The first two quarters set the tone for the game. The Heat always plan to dominate from the first tip.

This team relies heavily on number 6 for their offense from beginning to end. If James is not able to get his shot going, or he appears to be fatigued, the team scoring average reflects it. In fact in the past few games team productivity has been down drastically when James was on the bench. He has been quoted as saying he’s looking for the players who can step up when he is not part of the game. The difference in the team with and without James is perception. When James hits the bench for a rest the opposition perceives the Heat as vulnerable. In the opposition’s eyes that is their chance to throw everything at Miami but the kitchen sink. This usually results in James returning to the game earlier than anticipated.

In this Miami Heat versus Charlotte Bobcats series, the team will be expecting James to show his best defensive effort. The reason for that is because they want to force the Bobcats to make a lot of mistakes. If the Bobcats turn the ball over more than 10 times in the half they will lose. The Heat has a high conversion rate on turnovers and fast breaks. Moving on, this is not a series that will require James to put up more than 25 points to win each game. The Heat’s first string and the second string can dominate the Bobcats offensively. Remember that the Heat does average 106.0 points against the Cats, and that comes with the reduced effort from the starters. Against the Cats, the starters playing time is reduced significantly. However, that does not imply that James will play like the game is in the bag. He is a real competitor no matter who he is competing against. He averages 37.8 points per game against the Bobcats. Therefore, each win will definitely be a full 48 win. James will assure the team effort is played from the opening 12 minutes until the last 12 minutes. There will be no reduction in the effort, even if there is a reduction in minutes. Sustaining this level of intensity is how they will last through the duration of the playoffs.

Commentary By: Schelett Rickenbacker

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Sources:
Bleacher Report
ESPN
Grantland

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