NBA Finals: Game 4 Preview
A lot of people I follow on twitter seem to be predicting a huge performance by Lebron, and while I don’t doubt (heh, I’m off to a good start with a double negative in the opening sentence) that he is capable of carrying Miami to a win today, I just don’t think he will deliver, and here’s why: It’s the freaking Spurs! Popovich is no idiot, he knows exactly how to contain superstars (If you want proof of this claim, just watch the first 3 games of the series) As good as Green and Leonard have been in making Lebron work, it’s the Spurs defensive system that has essentially confused him and instead of the scoring powerhouse that we saw throughout the past year (even dating back to the Olympics), his best work on the offensive end has been setting screens and shovelling the ball to Miller or Chalmers and hoping they create. Nearly every big Lebron game in his career (Game 5 in Detroit in 07, Game 7 against Boston in 08, Game 4 in Indy and Game 6 in Boston last season), he wasn’t passive throughout the series before that breakout game. It would be an understatement to say he has been passive in this series so far, but Miami cannot rely on Chalmers and Miller to carry them to a championship. There is a reason Popovich is daring those guys to beat them and reluctant to help when they get into the lane.
Lebron, his moment is right now, and we shouldn’t have to remind him of it. He should respond to the situation, and not the criticism. He should be aware of his place in history, and what’s at stake. He should be driven by that and not everyone liking him. He should be prepared to go down swinging, even if that means looking bad in the process. Nothing is worse than when the main guy (not just on the team, or even in the world, but perhaps of this decade) is unwilling to put it on his shoulders. It’s one thing to say it, but it’s another to go out there and do it. Sure, he can act like a badarse when dunking on Jason Terry. But remember what happened in the 2011 finals? Terry stood up to him and Miami not just with his words off the court, but his play on the court, and James backed down. Miami needs this game, otherwise they go down 3-1 and have to win 3 straight, and it’s on Lebron’s shoulders to get them this victory.
Wow, 500 words in and I haven’t even mentioned the emphatic Spurs blowout in game 3. As I said after the Miami explosion in game 2, don’t expect that to happen again. But people are forgetting how desperate San Antonio are here. Parker’s health is a question mark, and each game in Texas is crucial. If they drop one, then they have to close this out in Miami. This feels like a game 7 right here, but we’re just at the midway point. Who have I got? It’s the toughest game to pick so far, but I’m going with Miami. Lebron has a better game, and Miller and Chalmers produce but Wade will stand up and be the player he used to be. I expect San Antonio to play good too, and the game will come down to one or two plays in the final minutes, and maybe even goes to overtime.