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NBA finals: Aggressive LeBron not enough, must find groove with Wade

Jun 9, 2011, 12:34 PM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Two Getty Images

We all kept talking about it and marveling at it during the Heat’s defeats against Boston and Chicago to reach the NBA finals — LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were playing together. Not next to each other, they were working off the ball to get open when the other had the ball, they were running pick-and-rolls, they were playing as a team not as individuals.

Lost in the “LeBron has to be aggressive” narrative (which is true) remains this fact — LeBron and Wade need to start playing with some synergy again in Game 5 or Dallas is going to take a lead in this series.

Dallas has brought fantastic defensive pressure on the Heat this series, and in the wake of it LeBron and Wade have gone back to playing next to each other not with each other. Wade has the ball because he has the hot hand, LeBron is standing in the corner, not working to get open.

Early in this game Erik Spoelstra should call the Wade/LeBron pick-and-roll a few times — they use that play shockingly little considering how devastating it can be (they went to it with the game on the line in Game 3 and it worked). If it is again Jason Kidd matched up on LeBron, he needs to be the playmaker with the ball in his hands and attack. But whether it is LeBron or Wade with the ball, they need to set up each other. They need to work off the ball. They need to be teammates again.

That will be part of this critical Game 5, but there are a couple other factors as well.

One is Tyson Chandler — he dominated inside in Game 4. His offensive rebounds, and rebounding in general, have been key for Dallas so far. And he will remain a huge advantage for Dallas — Miami has no big man who physically matches up with him. For Dallas, another big night from Chandler will be key.

So will be having a healthy Dirk Nowitzki back. Dallas compensated for his illness last game by getting contributions from Chandler and Jason Terry, and they will need those again. But expect a big night from a healthy Dirk, scoring 30-plus points and continuing to be unstoppable.

Dallas also now has a go-to play if they need it — a staggered screen set. Mimi has struggled to stop it since the end of Game 2 and you can expect to see it again when Dallas needs a bucket.

The one other thing to watch is turnovers — when Dallas makes them, and Miami can get out and run, the Heat take big leads. The Mavs have been able to get out of those holes, but life would be easier if they didn’t have to.

But Miami has two guys who can simply impose their will on a game, and if they work together to do that in Game 5 it could be all the difference.

  1. randysavage4ever - Jun 9, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    honestly… enough already

    can we just leave Lebron alone? we have already analyzed this mans life on and off the court x13487248574285

    i honestly forgot why we hate him so much? bc of some loud mouth owner Dan Gilbert who thinks he OWNS lebron james? ummm lebron made you a ton of money, its your fault if you couldnt surround Lebron with enough talent to win the title…

    Ok ok, the decision was overboard, but come on now, Lebron is a young dude- he is entitled to make mistakes- HE DIDNT COMMITT A CRIME OR RAPE OR KILL OR STEAL! – lay off him, every person I have talked to who said they met him in person has said HE IS A CLASS ACT and really polite…

    Lebron James held the sports media world in his palm (maybe more then the sports media world – maybe media and the world in general) last summer, it made things a lil exciting after the Finals… (not for cleveland-sry)

    I am NOT hating a man because of 1 decision special…nor am I going to ride him and critique his every move like the rest of the sports media world – WHO MAKE THEIR BREAD & BUTTER and career off him…

    if it wasent for Lebron – ya’ll wouldnt even have jobs – so dont bite the hand that feeds you…

    go ahead and dislike & thumbs down it…its the truth – we are HATING another human being for the WRONG reasons…he aint do anything like Mike Vick or anything…come on now people have some sense…Larry Johnson spit champaign in a womens face – thats something to hate someone for, not for a decision special

    • purdueman - Jun 9, 2011 at 4:10 PM

      I’m not a Le Bum fan, but the guy I hate on the Heat is their pompous ass greaser of a President, Riley. It was Riley who used Wade to orchestrate getting what he wanted, and the NBA should have IMO suspended him for a year and slapped him with a big fine for doing so. Now Riley’s all set to take center stage and let the world know what a “genius” his is; ugh!

      I also lost all respect for Wade for the way that he shamelessly used the Bulls, again I’m sure with Puppetmaster Riley pulling the strings. I have no issue with Bosh, but I do with James because I hate the way he flaunts having such a big “posse” of leaches who follow him everywhere. That’s just so-ooooo narcissistic!

    • nfl25 - Jun 9, 2011 at 6:51 PM

      dude i agree. he kind of annoys me and i will always root for the underdog, whcih will be any team that plays them, but this hatered for lebron is out of control. i want the heat to lose and lebron and wade are annoying but no need for the passionate hatred.

      i do think the way some miami fans act, kind of fuels it though.

  2. purdueman - Jun 9, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Steven A. Smith today said on ESPN (radio), that Le Bum “has off the court personal issues that he’s trying to deal with”. In other words, his head was elsewhere the other night, but at least he hasn’t tried (at least not yet), to cop an excuse.

    I don’t understand though why a professional veteran athlete can’t put any off the court junk in their trunks out of their mind for just the 2 1/2 hours or so needed to play a basketball game. Dirk Novitski was running a fever reported to be almost 102 before the opening tip of the last game, yet we didn’t even see him take a few additional gatorade break breaks on the bench. You either man up or you don’t!

    I just hope that the Le Choke we saw last Tuesday is the same one that show up tonight, as the one thing most of us hate about the Heat is their shameless lack of humility (Bosh excepted).

    • mytthor - Jun 9, 2011 at 2:45 PM

      No idea whether this actually has something to do with LeBron’s performance, but I understand why it would. Just because they’re professional athletes doesn’t make them superhuman. I think we’ve all had a tough day at work because something was bothering us at home, and think about the fact that a professional athlete is always going up against the best. If you or I have a bad day at work (don’t know what you do but this is true for most people), no big deal. If LeBron does, he lets down his teammates, tarnishes his legacy, becomes more likely to be remembered as less of a player. I doubt that your job consists of your performance being measured against the best in your field, night in night out, without the room for both of you to succeed.

      • purdueman - Jun 9, 2011 at 3:39 PM

        No need to be a James apologist. If I was making $20M for seven or eight months of work a year, you’d better believe that I’d do whatever it takes to keep my off the court distractions to a minimum during the season. After all, James can always party all night and chase all the skirt he wants during the offseason.

  3. nfl25 - Jun 9, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    I think there has to be more to Tuesday night. Somethin with lebron and the coach or the team? Lebron is way too good to have had a night like that, especially the 4th quarter. When i was watching the 4th qrtr I was thinking, is this guy trying to throw the game? The first 3 qaurters just seemed like he was off. The 4th qrtr was when it seemed like he was trying to stay away from the ball. One time he could have easily went in and dunked the ball but he passed it off. I have never seen him pass the ball when there is a clear path where he could take one step and dunk. And when someone would give him the ball he would immediately look to his right or left and pass. Even when he shot a free throw during the 4th qrtr, he didn’t shoot it as smooth as he normally does and it bricked.

    Im not saying he threw the game, just that there has to be something more to it. And im not tryin to make an excuse for him. I think a better excuse is “I played bad”, rather than “I let something bother me”

    • nfl25 - Jun 9, 2011 at 2:25 PM


      i dont buy that. if it was anything i think it had something to do with the team. unless maybe someon had his family memebr tied up in a basement or something like that. either way it shows menatl weakness, he needs to fix that. i get the feeling people close to lebron see that he got some issues.

      • purdueman - Jun 9, 2011 at 3:35 PM

        nfl…. in the absence of any details behind what Smith is reporting (.i.e., off the field distractions), it’s impossible for me to form an opinion simply based on innuendo,

        As I’ve posted before however, James is the only one responsible though for his traveling circus sideshow “posse”. You get that many leaches hanging on to you and any number of distracting problems can arise. For those of you who have or have raised children know what I’m talking about, much less having the need to incorporate 15-20 people into your every day life.

        Of course too, there’s Mama James constantly pulling his strings too!

  4. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 9, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    I think the whole Heat team needs to play together in the 4th quarter. That is when these games have been lost. I agree with what you say Kurt, but the Heat are more than just the big 3. There are others on the court as well and there lack of defense in the 4th has killed the Heat.

    • nfl25 - Jun 9, 2011 at 6:53 PM


      i agree. and i think his mom could have something to do with the way he is. i know all to well about crazy moms

      • purdueman - Jun 9, 2011 at 7:15 PM

        Could it be that Mama James is crimping his flashy off the court style by banning him from booze, shooing his posse out of the house so that can she can bring Le Bum fresh hot from the oven chocolate chip cookies, a glass of warm milk and read him a bedtime story about Michael Jordan before she tucks him in promptly at 9 PM every night during the playoffs!

  5. purdueman - Jun 9, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    ESPN Chicago (radio), is reporting that Le Bum has been having a big tiff with his hi skool sweatheart because she don’t like him cheaten on her!

    Why is that behind a lot of migraine headaches lies a woman?

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