Watching Kevin Durant put the Lakers on ice Saturday right in Metta World Peace’s grill*, I knew one thing and one thing only. LeBron had to ball out of control in Game 4 versus the Pacers. However, I wasn’t expecting this. Warranted or not, the level of flack I receive every time James fails to tell a person “bless you” after they sneeze is beginning to amass borderline amazing levels. That said, and I’ll tell anyone willing to listen, I’m biased. Biased as hell, actually, but when Charles Barkley and myself proclaim LeBron James as the best basketball player this side of Mars, times like yesterday serve as validation.
To be fair, the series is still far from over and the deficiencies in Miami’s attack have been put on full display through four games. Yet, Bron’s assertiveness and dedication to attacking the rim as if it had Rogaine on it was the key to his assault yesterday. By the time Game 4 was over, 40 points, 18 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two blocks was the stat line and check this. My mentions on Twitter were a ghost town; just like I like them.
Prior to tip-off, talk of Bron needing a “Cleveland-like” performance was the buzz. All that and more, Bron executed the best overall postseason game of his career with exception to possibly Game 5 of the 2009 Eastern Conference finals when he dropped 37 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists on the Magic. In a must-win game on the road, LeBron smelled blood and pounced even as he gasped for air at times.
Aside from James, all eyes focused on Dwyane Wade coming off the heels of his worst playoff game ever in Game 3. After starting off 1-8, a few dishes from LBJ and a war of words with Danny Granger, the switch clicked in Wade’s head as he and LeBron reeled off 38 consecutive points. He looked animated and intense, both of which were sharp contrasts from the previous game. Lost in his teammate’s once-in-a-lifetime stat line, Dwyane carved up 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists of his own, including 22 in the second half 10 consecutive made baskets.
When those two are in sync and not attempting to decide who should shoot when, they’re truly something else to witness. Playing 2-on-5 isn’t exactly the most sustainable form of basketball, but when you’re dealing with an all-world two guard and a running locomotive with the speed of a gazelle, Miami’s just going to have to ride that blueprint out for the remainder of this series and pray it results in two more wins.
Game 5 is Tuesday night and once the first dribble is taken, what’s said here basically becomes irrelevant. I’m perfectly okay with that. Until then, however, I’ll stand on this soapbox and there’s not much else anyone can do right now. I’m not forcing you to read this anyway, and regardless what the masses may feel, nothing’s taking away from the fact King James – yes, make no mistake, that was King James on full display yesterday – put on his big boy LBJ 9’s and smoked out one of the best postseason performances of the past 50 years (Elgin Baylor, 1961).
In all seriousness though, the game ball goes to Udonis Haslem. His four fourth quarter buckets were as important as anything.
* – Not to be forgotten, Russell Westbrook has been balling out of his mind for basically the entire season now. His mid-range jumper is wetter than…nevermind. But yeah, that boy has no fear on a basketball court and deserves just as much credit for the Thunder’s success this year as Durant or Harden.