Can You Really Blame LeBron James If The Heat Don’t Win The Championship?
Game 1 of the NBA Finals put a familiar sight on display. Once again, the Miami Heat blew it in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder. After racing out to an early lead, Miami’s stars faded down the stretch as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook kicked into high gear and took over down the stretch and won 105-94. The victory puts the Thunder up 1-0 in the seven game series but also put on display the side of the Miami Heat everyone was worried about. The one that fades in crunch time.
But if the Heat don’t win, can you really blame LeBron James?
Of course, he’ll get the most heat, and for good reason. He did leave Cleveland for this situation where they were supposed to win “not one, not two…” you know the rest. If, after two years in, they have no rings, LeBron will have a whole lot of questions to answer. But, thus far, he has been the one carrying Miami through the playoffs.
This postseason, LeBron is averaging just under 31 points, 9.6 rebounds and 5 assists. Those are monster numbers for any player. His 30, 9 & 4 in Game 1 were right on par with what he has been averaging. He hasn’t necessarily faded down the stretch either. Meanwhile, look no further than the other two parts of the Big 3 that haven’t helped King James on his quest to get a ring.
Dwyane Wade hasn’t quite been himself all season. The playoffs are proving that either injuries are nagging or he’s beginning to fade as a player. This postseason, Wade is averaging 22.9, 5 & 4. The scary thing is watching how he’s played since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. He’s shot under 40% three out of six times. His 7-19 performance for 19 points against the Thunder just won’t cut it. It’s not just the points, it’s the fact that his jumper isn’t there and he seems just a step behind what he used to be. His knee problems are a major concern and who knows if he’ll be right in the Finals.
Chris Bosh and his abdominal strain has been a big downer for the Heat as well. In 10 postseason games, Bosh is averaging 13 points and just under 7 rebounds. In Game 1 Bosh scored only 10 points and snared 5 rebounds in 34 minutes. He also inexplicably chucked up three 3-pointers. Injury or not, he has to play better.
The rest of the team isn’t much of a help either. Aside from Shane Battier’s 17 points and Mario Chalmers 12, the Heat are far too shallow to compete with the Thunder’s depth. An 8-man rotation puts a ton of pressure on your starting five; and more importantly the Big 3.
If the Heat get buried against the Thunder, it’s not because of LeBron James. He’s played some incredible basketball but unless the Heat step it up, this one will be over.