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LeBron, Granger talk smack; but Game 4 pressure squarely on James, Heat

May 20, 2012, 11:57 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers - Game Three Getty Images

Make no mistake, if Miami doesn’t win Game 4 they aren’t coming back to win this series. Even if Chris Bosh had a miracle recovery. Even if Pat Riley replaced Erik Spoelstra and brought in Phil Jackson as an assistant. The Pacers are good and they are not losing three in a row.

The Pacers are not backing down. Danny Granger is not backing down from LeBron James — the last two games the two star wing players for their teams have had to be separated by teammates (not that they were actually going to fight, this is the NBA).

But they are jawing. From ESPN:

“I’m not no monster. This ain’t no horror movie,” James said in response after Miami’s practice. “I’m not trying to scare nobody. I’m trying to play basketball. He’s got to hype himself up to say he’s not scared of me. Have I ever been intimidated by anybody in this league? I don’t think so. I go out and play my game and let my game do the talking.”

Granger was more reasonable.

“That’s part of basketball. That’s part of two men battling,” Granger said after the Pacers’ practice Saturday. “I’m not going to back down from anybody and he’s not going to back down from anybody. And when you get that, you’ll get some altercations.”

But that’s the sideshow.

If the Heat are going to win Game 4 they will need a vintage Cleveland “LeBron against the world” playoff performance from him. Because the team thing the Heat did at points in this season (think before the All-Star break) has been blown up.

Specifically, the Pacers are destroying the Heat’s pick-and-roll. For one, Chris Bosh is out injured and that has hurt the pop option for the Heat big. If you don’t have to respect the guy setting the pick you can do a lot more defensively.

What this has allowed the Pacers to do is not trap off the pick-and-roll, rather they have laid back. As Dwyane Wade or LeBron James turn the corner off the pick, they have space, as Jared Wade points out in a great post at eightpointsnineseconds.com.

LeBron has attacked still, put up a floater in the lane had been relatively effective. Wade has struggled all series, he is not knocking down the jumper he is given and has not figured out how to effectively attack with Hibbert in the paint.

Which is why it all comes back to LeBron and his need to step up and have a monster game. He needs to attack, he needs to hit the jumper he is give, he needs to create for others. It is on LeBron. Wade has given him the reins to this team and now is the time for him to just grab them and go.

Can he? Will he? The Heat’s playoff chances depend on it.

  1. eltoro1000 - May 20, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    I find it ironic that for all of the hoopla surrounding LeBron and his “taking his talents to South Beach,” its the “Cleveland version” of LeBron people are clamoring for…

  2. charlutes - May 20, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    The Heat winning three in a row Is that inconceivable? Many less likely things have happened in sports.

    Also 1 metaphor is fine guys. Less words and all that.

    • savvybynature - May 20, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      Kurt thinks making not-so-bold predictions makes him seem more intelligent in his analysis of basketball, i.e. the Celtics are too old, the Heat are going to win it all this year, etc.

      In reality acting like you can predict the future makes you just seem desperate for credibility imo. Anything can happen in sports, as we’ve all seen. One key injury to a team can dramatically change a series, as we are seeing right now.

  3. tampajoey - May 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Nike just announced that their new Lebron James shoe is going to be a beach sandal. Inspired by the Miami Heat being sent packing for an early vacation from the playoffs.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 20, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      sorry

      • edweird0 - May 20, 2012 at 6:38 PM

        Lol

  4. blacc24 - May 20, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Bron needs to step up and play some American basketball. All that European flopping when you’re 6’8″ 250 to buy calls is pathetic. He needs to put his head down and drive the lane cause it’s unstoppable.

    • cantonbound13 - May 20, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      Or he can develop a low post game, mid range jumper & not choke in the 4th quarter.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 20, 2012 at 6:19 PM

        Come on home cantonbound13. It’s okay. The Pacers are arrogant too.

  5. cordae - May 20, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    This series is just what it needs to be, chippy. I love gritty, chippy series like these in the play-offs. I’m happy this isnt easy for the heat. They (LeBron in particular) needs to face every strand of adversity they can. I’ve been DYING to see “vintage cleveland LeBron”. Say what you want about him, but when he was doing good in the playoffs in Cleveland, there was simply nobody better to watch. From scoring, to passing, to holding the best player on the floor, he did it all. Which reminds me, if he has to hold D.West again in this series, who’s gonna stop Danny? He’s easily a top 10 SF in the league…..oh yea….

    Mike Miller smh…

  6. jimeejohnson - May 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Lebron has at least 25 lbs. and an inch or two on Granger. Granger and his team have LeBron’s team in a strangle hold, and it looks very difficult for the Heat to break out of it. Not a lover or hater of LeBron/Heat, but it’s always exciting when an underdog like the Pacers rises to the occasion and gives the favorite a run for their money.

  7. ezmagic - May 20, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    If James drives in and kicks out do you really think miller or battier will hit shots lol. They each have 1 good game then suck a fat one for 10 games. It’s over heat fans. It’s funny how lebron would have a better chance of winning a title with him surrounded by solid role players and not a declining star(wade), allstar(bosh) and a bunch of scrubs.

  8. ihateclevelandandphillyandbaltimore - May 20, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Well I said heat in 4 before bosh got hurt , obviously i underestimated just how good the pacers were, and how flawed Miami is. Still think Miami could pull it out. It’s going to be really tough though. A Pacers Spurs/OKC final is very possible at this juncture.

  9. Richard Phillips - May 20, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    The loss of Bosh is huge, but Wade and James are still good enough to beat the Pacers. Gotta get out of their own heads though.

    http://thesportsdump.com/2012/05/20/nba-playoffs-recaps-and-previews/

  10. mungman69 - May 20, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Miami is better than this, I think. Well, this is a must win for the Heat. Isn’t it?

  11. steelerswin6 - May 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    LeLoser in the end will do what he does best – lose. If not this series the next one or in the championship. He is not a winner, he is LeLoser.

  12. avermaver - May 20, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Pressure is on both teams, Pacers have gone from pretender to contender, can they live up to their newly earned hype. Miami has the Bosh excuse for their demise, for Lebron it’s clearly shaping up for another “there’s always next year” end to his season.

  13. jmmsr1 - May 20, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    LeBron should take his talent back to school. Silent movie school so he doesn’t have to speak just flop. How many more double negative’s LeBron?

  14. phillynac - May 20, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    I agree with Charlutes. Saying the Heat can’t win 3 in a row is ridiculous. Fans talking in absolutes is one thing but for the writers to be telling people that a 3-1 series means it is over is just dumb.

  15. diamondmo33 - May 20, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Lebron will prove today that he’s the best
    Player on the court,and will show why he won m.v.p.

    • tampajoey - May 20, 2012 at 4:32 PM

      Stop listening to ESPN, it’s killing your brain cells.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 20, 2012 at 6:19 PM

        or not

    • savvybynature - May 20, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      And it will again be proven that it doesn’t matter.

      Basketball is a TEAM sport, not an individual one.

  16. hawkinsob - May 20, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Reading this article, you wouldn’t think that Wade’s 2 for 13 performance had any effect on the Heat’s fortunes last game.

  17. furio2929 - May 20, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Granger is tough man. Wade not Lebron are tougher. It’s the NBA finals and the Pacers are playing with a lot of heart. How come ESPN only talks about how the heat are struggling. In my opinion, they should be talking about how the Pacers are dominating this series not how Miami is still alive and playing well.

    • caseybojangles - May 21, 2012 at 3:01 AM

      granger is a pansy who grabs jerseys when he gets beat and doesn’t know when to STFU and play ball. why piss off the best player in the league. its called class…when you’re an idiot, wins don’t feel any better and losses sting a lot worse

  18. koloofai - May 20, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Granger is a fake tough guy.. LBJ putting up MVP numbers.. Very hard to stop the Heat when Wade aka the flash turns up like he did today

    • bbgraf08 - May 21, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      This whole “fake tough guy” talk, in regards to NBA players, has to end. It is ridiculously stupid.

  19. furio2929 - May 21, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    bbgraf08 it’s all about mental capacity. How much trash talk can an opponent take. If he looses his cool and judgement by listening to talk trash then he might have a bad night.

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