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“Fearless” LeBron carries Heat, but he’ll have to do it again

Jun 8, 2012, 12:18 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Six Getty Images

Sometimes it’s good to have the best player on the planet on your team.

LeBron James made Boston Garden his own personal playground for Game 6 — 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. It was as dominant a performance as he has given in the playoffs. He set the tone from the opening moments and pushed the Heat into a Game 7 with a 98-79 win.

“He was absolutely fearless tonight,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said in a televised press conference after the game. “And it was contagious.”

Now, he just has to do it again.

The problem for Miami is that to win with this roster they need exceptional games from James and/or Dwyane Wade. Not good, they got that in Game 5 and lost. They need exceptional, heroic efforts. That’s the only way they can score enough. It’s the only way they have been able to win — it was that way against the Pacers in the previous round, it is the same now. It’s what LeBron faced in Cleveland, for that matter.

So, can he do it again?

“I don’t know,” LeBron said with a shrug after the game. “I will tell you every game is its own (thing). I will continue to try to be aggressive. I will continue to try to play at a high level like I have done this whole postseason.”

LeBron took control of Game 6 from the opening tip, shooting 6-for-7 for 14 points in the first quarter, pushing the Heat to a 16-point lead. It didn’t stop, he got hotter in the second quarter and had 30 points by the half.

LeBron had a real lift in his shot — he was taking a lot of jump shots and fadeaways — but because of the spring in his step he was elevating over defenders and there were some pretty good looks. There were also contested, difficult shots. Didn’t matter. They all went in.

With the jumper falling, everything opened up. LeBron blew past guys off the dribble to get into the lane. He would pump fake and the Celtics defenders would bite, then LeBron leaned in and drew the foul. When the Celtics went zone, he cut to the middle of the paint, caught the pass and hit the turnaround. Boston went to Brandon Bass to be more physical in the second half, so LeBron started moving without the ball and left Bass in his dust. LeBron scored pretty much any way he pleased.

“I hope now you guys can stop talking about LeBron and how he doesn’t play in big games,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “He was pretty good tonight. Now that’s to bed.”

But that meme is not dead, not with a lot of fans who love to hate LeBron following the graceless way he left Cleveland for Miami. If Miami falls short at home in Game 7, for whatever reason, it will be LeBron’s fault. And for the Heat to win, he will need another monster game.

And this kind of game may not be sustainable. LeBron knocked down eight shots from the midrange, and that is hard to sustain. LeBron did a lot of damage in the halfcourt; he did it without many easy transition buckets. That’s not usually his game.

LeBron’s 45/15/5 was better than Boston’s entire Big Three (31 points, 13 rebounds, two assists). And the only way the Heat can beat Boston in Game 7 and return to the finals is another game like that from LeBron. Again, only he and Wade (17 points) scored in double figures. Miami can only win when one or both of them go off.

It is the sad reality for LeBron now, fair or not — Thursday night he was dynamic and incredible, but he’ll have to do it again Saturday to reach his goal. There would not be a Game 7 without LeBron. But unless he steps up again, perceptions will not change.

142 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. infectorman - Jun 8, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    rodge1, your missing the boat on this.

    While his charity works are commendable, the problem with the decision is that he made a circus out of it. Charity is best left anonymous.
    And other players in the league were most certainly rolling their collective eyes and the whole fiasco. Other players who have accomplished far more than him.
    Then he proceeded to follow it up with the smoke show “welcome to Miami” interview claiming they would win So many championships. That thing that looked more like Justin Beiber concert than anything else.

    I get it, it’s Miami, it glitzy, and sizzle, lights and dry Ice. But they looked like a bunch of Horses asses to the sensibilities of the majority of the rest of the country.

    So you can try to minimize it’s arrogance on this website on this website all you want, the ship has sailed for most people outside of FLA, and now he needs to win at least 3 Rings before those outside of Miami would accept him..

    Me? I could’ve cared less. it was what it was. kinda cheesy and over the top, but I can see how it rubbed non-Floridians the wrong way…

    • progress2011 - Jun 9, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      Infected Dude….A MILLION DOLLARS to charity is still a MILLION DOLLARS to help someone other than himself. A purely selfless act.

      The MILLION DOLLARS came from the networks and other people that wanted to profit on his decision. Part of the charity requirement the network and others stipulated, was that he did it publicly.

      Therefore your suggestion, “Charity is best left anonymous” was not an option.

      What players do you have on speed-dial, told you, they rolled their eyes. You have ZERO connections or substantiated evidence to support your mis-truths.

      Confidence is often times confused with arrogance. But why is arrogance so bad. I’m not 6’9, 250 lbs, professional athelete, multi-multi millionaire.

      But I’m pretty arrogant and confident. If I saw you on the street, you’d get one of my arrogant stares that I don’t want to be bothered with peasants, look !

      I can’t imagine my “arrogance” if I had his physical abilities and million dollar sock drawers.

      You should thank the ground he walks on….because you wouldn’t want to deal with me, if I were a super-star athelete, living the life on South Beach.

      Am I better than you…..YEP……would I be better than you, if I had LBJ’s resume…..ABSOLUTELY and I’d make no bones about it!

      Deal with your insecurites because I’d make them worse !

      ahahahahaha…I’m laughing but serious as a heart beat.

      • infectorman - Jun 9, 2012 at 8:07 PM

        selfless act? Wonder how you would know that.
        talk Lebron lately? You know him personally to be selfless and altruistic?

        Doesn’t change the fact the that a large part of the country thinks he’s arrogant, self-important, pampered and an entitled athlete…whether its true or not…
        It’s clear most South Florida basketball fans live with blinders on and will reach to never before seen depths to defend a player that’s been in town for a measly 3 years.
        btw, don’t claim to know the first thing about me and my connections…
        You know nothing, trust me on that one.

        Hope you feel better with your rant. Mr. “Confidence”
        I’m laughing too, but serious as a heart attack- (perhaps, that’s the phrase you were looking for?)

      • progress2011 - Jun 10, 2012 at 4:29 AM

        Still Infected…

        I don’t pretend to know LBJ. But if you are slightly smarter than a box-of-rocks, you would know, donating a friggin MILLION dollars to charity, when he could have pocketed it and bought another luxury sports car…..is the definition of a selfless act !

        Since you can’t comprehend that simple equation, I guess that box- of- rocks has you beat !

  2. thetruth1313 - Jun 8, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    @infectorman

    That was hilarious!

  3. packhawk04 - Jun 8, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Just so everyone is aware, people will hate on lebron until he wins a ring. So, right before youre about to type “haters gonna hate like the little beeotches they are”, ask yourself “does he have a ring yet?”

  4. fanz928 - Jun 8, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Bosh grabbed some key rebounds

  5. rodge1 - Jun 9, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    @packhawk04

    Haters will hate even after he wins a ring. It’s not about him, it’s about the unhappiness in their own lives.

    • gmsingh - Jun 9, 2012 at 7:26 AM

      That’s very astute–it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with multimillionaire LeBron acting like a spoiled brat.

      • progress2011 - Jun 9, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        SO WHAT…..I’m a spoiled bratt right now and I am not a superstar athelete!

        If I come to the McDonalds you work at and you don’t put enough salt on my fries, I will be all in your managers grill and demand you be taken off fries !!!

        If I had his millions, I’d probably come back to your fry station and slap you with a couple hundred dollar bills !!!

        He’s a good guy, you should appreciate him. But you won’t because it’s gonna be another 3 months before you can be promoted to work the drive thru.

        Hater

      • gmsingh - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:58 PM

        Agreed–I hate how stupid your post is.

      • progress2011 - Jun 10, 2012 at 4:34 AM

        What !!!!

        I’m talking about you gmsingh !

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