LeBron’s monster game needs 1 more victory





MIAMI – The remarkable performance LeBron James threw at the Boston Celtics Thursday in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals was an all-timer.

But for what period of time? Decades? Or days?

No sooner had James clobbered the Celtics with 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists to grab back homecourt advantage than people began to wonder: Had James silenced the critics who kept questioning his “clutchiness” in big games? Or had he merely fended them off for another 48 hours?

In other words, what would the shelf life be for that Game 6 showing if James and his Miami Heat teammates wound up losing Saturday night at AmericanAirlines Arena and missing the 2012 NBA Finals anyway? Plenty of folks have opinions about that, including one hardly impartial observer.

“Listen, I think it all depends on Game 7,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said Friday in a media conference call, a travel day as the series shifted back to South Florida. “If obviously they win tomorrow, that Game 6 you’ll remember. If we win tomorrow, the Game 6 will be just another great game.”

Rivers was just being honest – he had been effusive in his praise of James’ talent, and the manner in which he seized the occasion, both after Game 6 and again Friday. Certainly he wasn’t interested in generating any silly bulletin-board material. Same with his advice to his team Thursday to “pack for a week” on the trip to Miami – it wasn’t a cocky way of predicting victory and a trip to Oklahoma City. It was simply logistics, with Boston having to fly Sunday directly to the site of the Finals opener Tuesday.

“I mean, I said it last year,” Rivers said. “He’s a great player. I don’t know what else he can do. He does the right thing. When he makes the right pass and the guy misses the shot, he’s criticized. When he forces a shot in a double team, he’s criticized. It’s the way it is for him, for whatever reason.”

Because of the big, fat numbers involved and the wonders of digital video, James’ performance will be recalled and replayed for years to come – on par with his Game 5 explosion in the 2007 East finals against Detroit, when he scored 48 in a double-overtime victory, including 29 of Cleveland’s final 30 points.

Still, in terms of real, lasting impact, the Heat may need to advance and perhaps win the Larry O’Brien trophy over the Thunder if LeBron’s big night is going to pass into legend. Merely setting an elimination 48 hours later? Meh.

It might have helped, too, if Boston had made the 98-79 blowout a more competitive game; James might have crammed a few more highlights into the closing minutes, searing his dramatics into fans’ memories.

The coach on the other side, Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, left no doubt that James had put up a game to rival those by Jordan, Bird, Russell, Chamberlain and so on, regardless of round or game number.

“It was a fearless performance,” Spoelstra said. “And will probably go down as a historic playoff performance. We needed every bit and minute of it, and maybe we’ll need that again. But he’s a brilliant basketball player that will read the game and whatever we need. Maybe it’s more assists [Saturday] night, maybe it’s rebounds. Who knows. But he’ll be there [in Game 7].”

21 Comments

  1. katkylejam09 says:

    No doubt that LBJ will go down as one of the greatest player of all time and like wade, bosh, pierce and garnett, will be a future hall of famer. But to cement his place as one of the greatest, he needs a ring. To set him apart as just another great player, he needs to win a championship and it will be great opportunity for him and the miami heat to do that against the equally talented OKC..goodluck miami!-Go LBJ!

    • DieHardest says:

      Correct me if i’m wrong, but Barkley, Malone, Stockton and several others are considered “great” players. They’re even members of the NBAs 50 greatest. They have NO RINGS and yet their legacies are “cemented” as being great players. So why does James “have” to get a ring for him to be considered great? He’s already GREAT, done things that few or NONE have ever. He already has pretty much all of “the youngest ever” records and the ones he doesnt have, he’ll most likely get soon or later.

  2. Alpha Base says:

    Simply put. That’s how talented a player he is, he is just a great basketball player. That is why much is expected of the guy and he knows it. So one 45pt performance in the playoffs will not be enough to silence critics, only a ring will do, and in some circles, not 4, not 5, not 6 rings.

    OKC and MIA, take us to game 7!

  3. Dr. "T" says:

    And how can anyone blame him fro leaving Cleveland?. The team he took to the playoffs his last year with Cleveland did not have one player who would have been a starter on another team (as we have seen since), — with the exception of aging Shaq and Z, both of which were way past their prime. He restructured hi contract and settled for a lot less money in Cleveland than he could have made elswhere, all so they could afford to put better players around him, and they failed him. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is the NBA equivalent of [Redskins'] Dan Snyder — a meddlesome egomaniac that did as much as anyone to drive LeBron out of Cleveland..

  4. Dr. "T" says:

    Meatloaf has no clue about the real LeBron James. If you followed him since high-school, you would know what a high quality person he is. He is very unselfish player — to a fault. The narcissistic foibles he has engaged in were the result of all the people and companies around him that want to make big bucks riding on his jersey tails. He is too nice of a human-being to deserve all this hate, — it is really ridiculous for these meatheads to cast such personal aspersions. He is a great player and a better man, so stop your personal attacks on his character..

    • Rocabye says:

      Lebron seems like a high-quality kat. As an athlete though, not feelin it. Too much talk, too much of making a media circus over going to the heat….too much big talk with no rings backing it up. Maybe it was just Lebron being young and absorbed by fame..so he made bad decisions, but he tarnished his image through his antics. I think hes been greatly humbled over the past cpl seasons but itll take alot to change ppls opinions.

  5. Brain32 says:

    Heat vs Thunder would be better for basketball?
    No way, just no way, let’s face it, HEAT is about two players, without them, they would be like Bobcats, yes they are that “good” as a team.
    That’s not basketball that’s money because the casual viewer wants the media installed drama that would hype up the Finals….
    I’m sick and tired of reading all this articles about how Celtics should fail on OFFICIAL NBA site, for God’s sake if you people already decided Celtics are “too old” why are you torturing them with game 7 at all?
    And this is not a jab at mister Aschburner he is actually quite moderate in his comments but other articles didn’t allow comments so here it is…

  6. chris says:

    LeBron will take oiver this game and in the finals…..he finally will get a ring that he deserves….but problem will be he will not credit unless he wins it on his own….LBJ is my favorite player……I don’t care for heat but if anybody in this league deserves a ring it is LBJ……I think he will win 1 or 2 with heat and go back to Cleveland in pursuit of getting them a ring….He is by far the best player over Kobe,Majic Bird….ever to touch a basketball.

  7. chris says:

    I guarantee anyone heat win by at least 15 points, and beat OKC in sweep or 5 games…..Boston not showing up last season was their season……Heat win by 20+

  8. Vrapz says:

    Im a celtic fans….but paul pierce is too slow and not shooting well this year…and thats the truth. Game 7 rely on rondo & garnett…if rondo is on attack mode and garnetts j will go in — heat will b in trouble.

  9. KOBE says:

    GOING TO B GREAT GAME..CAN LEBRON REPEAT HIS GAME 6 PERFORMANCE..JAMES AND WADE NEED TO COMBINE FOR 70 AGAIN FOR HEAT WIN…

  10. Rocabye says:

    Lol Lebron cant beat the thunder by himself. The only reason he beat the celtics last game is cuz no one showed up except Eondo. Horrible shooting night for them.

    • Rocabye says:

      Rondo* stupid phone. Anyway the 2007 performance was better because it was actually a competitive game.

  11. John says:

    It looks as though it is up to Lebron James to win the championship this year and not the Miami Heat. The team itself is heavily flawed and can’t beat the young and talented OKC Thunder, unless Lebron takes over like he has done all those glorious days in Cleveland. He is fully capable, and if it wasn’t for his strange mental breakdown last year in the finals, he would have already had his first ring.

  12. Karlo Garcia says:

    I don’t usually praise LeBron James but i will with his 45 points performance.

  13. greatLBJ says:

    i thought i was a cavs fan b4, but when LBJ leaves the team and went to miami joining d-wade and c-bosh, i followed him and since then,i am no longer wacthing cavs game. that means it was LBJ that make cavs be my fav team. LBJ is a great palyer i’ve seen his games during his high school days. he’s great, very great and very athletic.defensive rebound, dribble and drive it all the way on other end of the floor with a dunk. thats his game. i knew, he only learn to take jump shots in nba, that’s why he doesnt trust his shooting, thats why he’s criticized for not being clutch coz most of the time perimeter shooting is the best shot you can hav during clutch. wether LBJ gets a ring or not,he’l be remembered as one of the greatest b-ball player of all time. and to the haters, be calm on your emotions,the you hate the man looks you hav no respect for him as human and that’s unfair. i knw nothing could make you change, haters. forget about that bitterness inside you, be reminded that you are once one among the millions that admired him b4 he leaves the cavs.

  14. PARUMAN says:

    IT WILL BE FUN TO WATCH HEAT VS OKC SERIES IN THE FINALS. – LBJ VS DURANT.. – FROM A LAKER FAN

  15. Who That Guy says:

    The era of KOBE, DUNCAN, GARNETT etc is officially over .. its now time for the NOT ONE, NOT TWO, NOT THREE but FOUR TIMES an NBA finals series between the HEAT + THUNDER get ready for the level NBA .. Oh & those people who are still comparing guys like LEBRON, WADE & DURANT to past players like MAGIC & MJ get over it guys MAGIG & MJ arent coming back they were great but lets enjoy whats in front of us RIGHT NOW

  16. understnds says:

    He will really be there … #iBelieve history will repeat itself .. thank you LBJ

  17. justerini_walker says:

    well doc rivers is right, anything that lebron does especially in crucial games are always being criticized. lebron’s a great player and he is longing to get that championship ring… if he’ll be able to perform like what he did in game 6, definitely the victory on getting the chance for a title will be his’ and the heat. but the c’s are such a strong team though age would be much older than miami, the focus and experience are their advantage.. i do believe that this will be an epic game 7… but as for me, il go for miami… i was an LBJ fans since 2003