For one night, the Miami Heat became the Cleveland Cavaliers.
For one night, we could care less. In a 98-79 victory where your three-time MVP scored 45 points, grabs 15 boards and dishes out five assists, you really could care less how your team looks. The type of basketball that was played on Thursday was the exact opposite of how the Heat want to be run.
However, it was the type of basketball that needed in order for the Heat to get out of the unfriendly confines of the TD Garden and back on a jet heading to the M.I.A. for a decisive Game 7, which will ultimately decide who is making it to the NBA Finals to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
What exactly is there to say about LeBron James’ performance?
I can think of a few words: masterful, fluid, graceful, sexual, violent, legendary, historic, gutsy, fearless, beautiful and CLUTCH. All of those adjectives yet it does little to nothing to address just how incredible LeBron James was last night. In one of the most important and pressure filled games of his career, James had the game of his life.
Seriously, this may have very well been the best regular or postseason game of James’ career. The 45-15-5 he dropped on Boston in Game 6 rivals his incredible performance in 2007 against the Detroit Pistons where he scored 29 of his team’s final 30 points. In fact, just the significance of this game should put it over the top as the best game of James’ career.
Consider yourself lucky if you watched the full game. Words don’t do it justice; only incredible highlight plays and shot-charts like the two you are about to see can just barely describe the type of performance:
James first-half shooting:
The entire statline reads: 45 points (19-26), 15 rebounds, five assists and four turnovers in 44:49 worth of action. He also shot 2-of-4 from deep and 5-of-9 from the foul line. THIS GUY HAS DOUBTERS.
In a game where LeBron has the game of his life in a contest where if his team loses he will most likely be crucified, there will still be people who will complain about fouls or how this wasn’t Game 7 or the NBA Finals.
You want a response for those types of people? Say nothing. Just feel sorry that they’re too busy putting James under a microscope to see how the officiating is completely in his favor, instead of appreciating the arguably the greatest athlete that has ever stepped onto a basketball court. Trust me, it’s their loss and there is no point in rubbing it in by making them look more ignorant than they already look.
But let’s get back to the point of attempting to bottle up this James performance and using words to describe just how prolific it is.
James did it all. He was hitting his mid-range jumpers from the get-go, constantly blowing by Paul Pierce, playing aggressive and getting near the rim (he had 21 points in the paint), throwing down insane put-back dunks and playing with the overall ferocity of a player who is plum tired of having every single thing about this team blamed on him.
James finished with 30 points in the first half. He had 15 in the second, despite going to the foul line a grand total of zero times in the final 24 of the game. He had 41 points after three quarters; that’s the most any player has had in a postseason in the past decade and that’s including names like Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O’Neal.
His defense wasn’t too bad, either. A game after allowing Pierce to hit an incredible three-pointer that sealed Game 5 in favor of Boston, James put Pierce in a straight jacket and still hasn’t given him the keys to get out of it. Pierce had nine points on 4-of-18 shooting and missed all six of his three-point attempts.
In terms of his shooting, this series against the Heat is the absolute worst of Pierce’s career.
You could tell from the start of this game that LeBron meant serious business. He had the look of a man possessed, a scowl that would make Kendrick Perkins go into a corner, crawl into the fetal position and cry for the next ten hours, and unleashed his greatness upon the pale-faced gingers that inhabit the TD Garden.
This game was extremely reminiscent of James’ 51-point performance against Orlando he had last year. Not many of James’ points came by way of easy layups, but rather by contested jumpers that he couldn’t seem to miss. It was just about the same case in Boston on Thursday, with far more shots closer to the rim, however.
LeBron might have gone for 60 this game had Dwyane Wade not finally decided to do something in the fourth quarter. As disappointing as that was, it was still necessary for Dwyane to have some sort of positive contribution in this game as he mostly played the role of Larry Hughes or Mo Williams by staying out of James’ way.
Wade finished with 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting. James was so good that we forgot Wade was playing horribly the first three quarters. It wasn’t until the fourth when Wade finally said “I got this shit” and scored eight points to stretch the lead to as much as 25 points, which made this contest even more hilarious because the ogrish fans of Boston thought their team had a chance facing a 13-point deficit going into the fourth.
Not with the game James was having. Not with Wade overdue for some points. Not with Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier finally contributing on offense. This game was Miami’s from the start and they led by at least ten points the entire second half. Let that tell you just how dominant of a game this was for Miami.
Looking at other performances outside of James, it was wonderful to see Chris Bosh have another efficient game. In 28 minutes off the bench, Bosh had seven points on 3-of-8 shooting, six boards and three blocks. His influence on the court was huge, as he was able to keep Kevin Garnett out of the paint which allowed drives by Wade and James.
The moment of the game actually wasn’t anything that James did, but actually a block by Bosh had on a Kevin Garnett layup. While it may have only been a block, it was the first time this series I’ve seen Garnett met with any sort of resistance near the rim. That length of Bosh’s against Garnett has been sorely missed.
We can all look forward to Bosh playing an even larger role in Game 7 where he’ll be healthier and might even get the start, which would finally send Shane Battier back to the bench. Although, I really wouldn’t mind seeing Udonis Haslem get sent to the bench at the moment after another poor shooting and defensive performance.
It’s a damn shame this team can’t get anything going from Mike Miller. The $30 million man shot 0-of-3 from deep, with each of those shots being wide-open. He’s legitimately asking to be an amnesty clause casualty come offseason. Perhaps the Heat could go after Ray Allen, or just any shooter really, to replace him if it does come to that.
While I hate to rain on the James’ parade, I feel like I must say that James is going to need some help in Game 7. He’ll have another excellent game, yes, but it would probably be appreciated if Dwyane shows up in the first half, if Bosh keeps Garnett out of the paint and if Mike Miller can hit a jump shot.
This series is over. Miami isn’t losing two games at home this series. As tired as you think James currently is, imagine how tired guys like Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass, Mickael Pietrus and Kevin Garnett are from having to attempt to defend James for nearly 45 minutes.
James is young and athletic; he’ll recover in a day. Those four need more than a day to recover from the ass-whooping they were just handed because it takes a lot of energy to keep up with James, and you know those four were doing all in their power to stop LeBron from his goal of kicking them in the dicks.
Dicks well kicked, LeBron. Dicks well kicked, indeed.
- James is averaging 34 points per game on 53 percent shooting to go along with 11 boards this series because fuck you.
- The last person to have a playoff game with at least 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists was Wilt Chamberlain in 1964.
- LeBron is averaging 31 points on 51 percent shooting, as well as nearly ten boards and five assists per in the playoffs.
- LeBron only had four points in the fourth quarter. ZOMG, WHAT A CHOCKER!!11111
- James has scored under 30 points once this series…29 in Game 4.