Tag: LeBron James
I’m not sure if I would go so far as to say that the winning streak of the Miami Heat is just as valuable as winning a National Championship. One thing is for sure, for a team that has had to take a lot of criticism for not been aggressive enough, for not living up to their true potential (let’s not forget we are talking about the NBA defending championship) they are really proving they are for real. Let it there be no doubt, they want to keep this streak alive just as much as they want to win their second championship in a row.
These guys are determined to do whatever they need to prove they are the team to beat right now. Yes, on the one hand, we have to realize that few players have needed to prove themselves as much as the Heat biggest star, LeBron James. He’s been in the league for ten years, and despite multiple regular season MVP’s and a couple of trips into the NBA Finals, he always came up short. That was until he joined Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in Miami to for the latest Big Three. And in a short but extremely intense lockout-season, the boys from South Beach took the National Title. Still there was huge animosity against James and the Heat, although they are now going into their third season straight playing in a full house at Miami. They might be quite unpopular everywhere else, but the South Beach fans loves this new force.
Now, facing the Orlando Magic, a team that desperately needs to pull off big wins in a season that is certainly going to end as soon as the postseason kicks off, things were looking quite difficult at one point. With the Orlando Magic’s Jameer Nelson three pointer in the 3rd quarter, the game was tied at 68 points a piece, and considering that the Heat were playing without Dwight Howard for the second game in a row, it seemed as if James was not going to be able to deliver and the streak was going to be cut short. And it was just about that next play that LeBron James got a bit mad and started playing like he was on fire. He started the turnaround with a phenomenal highlight reel worthy dunk, followed with an easy jumper over three Magic players only 30 seconds later, and guided the Heat on a dominant 4th quarter to take a 108-94 win at Orlando.
James would go on to lead the Magic for the second night in a row, scoring 24 points, 9 rebounds and 11 assists against Orland. “We are not taking this team for granted,” James said in the postgame press conference. “I continue to always say that in professional sports, wins are hard to come by and teams like this are really rare. To be part of a team like this, we do not take it for granted.” The Magic gave it all they could, but then again, it is clear that at 18 and 53 for the season, these guys are not at their finest. Jameer Nelson guided the Magic with 27 points and 12 assists while Tobias Harris had 20 points for the home team.
It wasn’t easy that’s for sure. For a moment there it seemed as if once again the Miami Heat would end up losing to a team that has no chances of making it into the postseason. But at the end of the day, the Heat came back, played like the NBA defending champions they are and gave us a little glimpse of something we usually don’t see. LeBron James took the decisive game-winning shot that put the Heat over the edge against the Orlando Magic in a stunning 97-96 matchup at South Beach. LeBron James has been criticized over and over for his lack of performance in clutch situations. Sure he is among the finest players to have played the game, there really is no doubt about that. And yet, it seems as if he goes a little shy when it comes to making that decisive shot. Well, not this time.
The Orlando Magic had managed to turn a 20-point deficit and turn things around in a very dominant third quarter to take the lead on the road against the most dominant team in the Eastern Conference. That is certainly a huge feat for a team that at 17-45 is certainly not at it’s finest, but that has shown that they have the potential to play well even if their biggest star, Dwight Howard, has moved to the LA Lakers. It was a though loss for the Magic. They really fought for this game, they gave it their best. It just wasn’t enough despite a solid performance from their starters. Nik Vucevic guided Orlandos’s efforts with 25 points and 21 rebounds. Yes, that’s the second time in his career that Vucevic records 20+ rebounds: both times against the Miami Heat.
The Magic got plenty of help from their point guard Jameer Nelson who had 16 points and 14 rebounds in a good all-around performance. Tobias Harris also added 16 points for the Magic and, Arron Afflalo and Maurice Harkless had 13 and 12 points each respectively.The Orlando Magic are now 0-2 for the season against the Miami Heat. But to be fair, both games have been loss by less than three points. “This is tough,” Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said in the postgame press conference. “You’ve got guys who battled, who really wanted to win this game and deserved to win this game.”
LeBron James guided the Heat efforts with 26 points and 3 rebounds including the go-ahead layup after getting past DeQuan Jones with 3.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The fine tuned Dwayne Wade had 24 points for the night as he now records his 7th game shooting over 62%. Chris Bosh chipped in with 17 points and 10 rebounds, to round up the Miami Heat’s Big Three performances. It was a bit alarming that they let the game get out of their hands so badly in the third quarter. And it was a bit alarming how dominant under the paint Vucevic was in that period. He recorded 10 rebounds in that period alone. Compare that with three boards from the entire Miami Heat crew. Just a little something head coach Erik Spoelstra should look at before the postseason kicks in.
This has been an interesting weekend for the NBA. On the one hand, the fans had a chance to share a fun weekend with their favorite stars as the All-Star Weekend kicked off in Houston. But in between the lines, there have been other news that have shocked the basketball world. On the one hand, LeBron James is now in the middle of a debate among sports commentators and fans alike. On the one hand, many are tying to argue who is the better player right now, if LeBron James is a better suited player than Kobe Bryant. The other debate goes a little further, on whether LeBron James or Micheal Jordan can be considered among the sports best ever, and some have gone so far as to fantasize about who could win a 1-on-1 match between James and Jordan when both where at their peak.
On the one hand, these are the sorts of news that erupt once the season goes into the All-Stars break. Not enough games and we have to shift the attention to other speculations. Then again, it seems like quite an interesting question. For a while there, some went on to say that at 50, Jordan could be planning to make his way back into the NBA. At one point or another a nationally known sports commentator went on record to say that paired with someone like James or Bryant, Jordan could be quite easily finishing games in double figures. I’m not quite sure how to process this sort of information. Yes, he is arguably the best player to have set foot in a basketball court, then again, he is 50, and it’s hard to imagine how that would go against a guy like Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the other young stars who’s parents are just as old as Jordan.
But let’s go back to LeBron James. The news came out that when asked whether he would pair up with James or Bryant to play in the pros, Micheal Jordan came out and said he would take Bryant. His decision was backed up with a very simple explanation: James had 1 Championship ring while Kobe Bryant had 5. And according to his logic, five rings always defeats one national title. James came back with a quick response during the press day in the All-Stars weekend. “(Jordan) said he would take Kobe over me because … five rings are better than one, and the last time he checked, five is better than one,” James said. “At the end of the day, rings don’t always define someone’s career. If that’s the case, then I’d sit up here and say I would take (Bill) Russell over Jordan. But I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t take Russell over Jordan. Russell has 11 rings, Jordan has six. I wouldn’t do that.”
He’s got a good point, and he’s got that sort of basketball finesse that could back up his statements anytime. Let’s not forget that James is coming off an NBA-record six consecutive games when he scored at least 30 points and shot at least 60 percent from the field. I don’t think it would be relevant any longer to keep on making this debate. It’s all hypothetical daydreaming, and it all just proves that we need to figure out how to let go off our sports idols of the past. I wonder what argument we would be making when Jordan is 70, James is about to hit the 50 mark and some new Chinese kid is the hottest star in the league.
On the one hand, the LA Clippers were finally playing with their three starters back from injury. So there was a lot of expectations set upon this crew as they were walking into the court with Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Let’s not forget that Paul, particularly, had missed the last 9 Clippers games because of a bruised knee, and there were high hopes for the Paul-Lebron James matchup going into the game. Still, despite having their guys back, they were certainly looking a bit too rusty and the Heat just didn’t give them a chance dominating the second and third quarter completely to take an easy 111-89 win at home.
The injured trio was back in the court, but there was little production coming from this crew. As a matter of fact, the Clippers big three only produced 23 points. Not exactly the sort of numbers that one would have expected from this crew. The problem here was that, despite having his complete crew, that is, everyone was in uniform, head coach, Vinny Del Negro had his full complement of players at last. Sure enough it took him 52 games in this regular season to get all of his squad, and yes, this will most likely be the first 50-win season in franchise history. But it was not going to be that easy to keep off the Miami Heat from taking a win at home. And certainly not when LeBron James is having one of his finest scoring weeks of his career.
James was simply unstoppable. He scored 30 points in another efficient performance in 9-of-11 shooting, Dwyane Wade scored 20, Mario Chalmers finished with 18 points and Shane Battier scored 12 for the Heat, which improved to 21-3 at home. For a while there, it seemed as if this was going to be a good preview of what could eventually end up been the NBA Finals Championship game. And even though it is still very early for the Clippers management to push the panic button, and try to find some trading options to build around Paul, the overwhelming loss cannot be understated. Chris Paul gave credit to his rivals. “We lost to a good team over there, but we’re not going to hang our heads,” Paul said in the postgame press conference. “You never want to make excuses, but they shot the lights out of the ball. We never really made an impact defensively. LeBron, Mario, all those guys were on a rocking chair all night.”
The tricky issue here is that James could had done this to any other team out there. He is feeling extremely comfortable with his game right now. This was his fourth straight 30-point game, tying him with Dwayne Wade as the only Heat players with such a streak in the franchise’s 25-year history. James insist that he is just doing what can to work around the team’s flow. “Nope,” James said. “It’s nothing to figure out for me. I go out, see what the pace of the game is bringing, and you go out and figure it out on the fly. I don’t predetermine anything. If the defense backs up, I shoot. They come up on me, I drive. My teammates are open, I find my teammates. The game flows for me that way, and I’m just in that comfort place right now where I can go out and just play free.”