LeBron James latest critics have it all wrong.
While I still fault him plenty for the classless way he dumped Cleveland for the Miami Heat, I’ve got to give him his due for what he has done in the NBA playoff’s and especially in two of the first three games in the championship series with Dallas.
James is a big reason Miami leads this series. His defense on the Mavs Jason Terry has turned the guy known as The Jet into a sputtering bi-plane that - come the fourth quarter of each game - barely gets off the ground.
And that’s why Mavs superstar Dirk Nowitzki finds himself on an island all alone. He’s being forced to carry an entire team on his shoulders because he is getting no consistent scoring help.
With James doing the less-trumpeted but most-necessary dirty work at one end of the court it’s allowing teammate Dwyane Wade to be the offensive star. That’s not to say that James is a slouch on the offensive end though. Against Dallas he;’s still averaging 20,3 points per game as is shooting 52 percent from the floor..
While “The Decision” - his ill-conceived televised putdown of Cleveland to announce his jump to Miami - came off as ego run amuck and turned James into a villain in many corners of the sports world, his performance now presents the flip side of ego. He’s pretty much keeping it under wraps for the betterment of the team. And I think that’s making him a better player than he ever has been.
Some people don’t see it that way, especiallya CBSSports.com columnist whose missive Monday bore the headline: “Story of an incredibly shrinking supertsar.”
The crux of the argument was that in the first three Finals games, James has totaled nine points.
I think the story is making a mountain out of a molehill. Going into tonight’s Game 4, Miami is up 2-1 and though I’m not a Heat fan, I think they’ll take this series in six games.
As for skrinking: James led the Heat in scoring, rebounding and assists in the opening playoff series against Philadelphia. He scored 28 a games as the Heat scorched Boston in the next round and in the conference finals he not only led the team in all three major production categories again, but he also put a defensive wrap on the Bulls star Derrick Rose.
To me, James - at least on the court - has never looked better.Tweet