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No rest likely coming for LeBron, which isn’t good for Heat

Jun 14, 2012, 6:26 PM EST

Miami Heat's LeBron James takes part in a team practice for the NBA basketball finals in Oklahoma City Reuters

In the regular season, LeBron James actually played well in the fourth quarter — he had the second highest fourth quarter PER in the league. Part of the reason is that the Heat’s rotation let him sit the first four to five minutes of the quarter and rest, then come in with real energy.

In the playoffs — especially the Eastern Conference Finals and Game 1 against Oklahoma City — there has been almost no rest for LeBron.

The result? In Game 1 it was a quiet 7 points on 2-for-6 shooting, with him settling for a lot of jumpers. After the game in the interview room, he looked and sounded tired.

In Game 2 the Heat are going to ask more of LeBron — he likely logs minutes defending Kevin Durant plus he needs to take on more of the offense if Dwyane Wade can’t — and he may well have to do it without rest. Here is what Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, via Brian Windhorst at ESPN.

“We were able to manage his minutes pretty much at a career-low level for the majority of the regular season, and you get to this point, we have 12 days left, I know he has the mentality that he’ll do whatever it takes,” Spoelstra said. “I want him fresh so I’ll work to try to get him some rest, and ideally it won’t be 48, 53, whatever it is.”

Lack of rest isn’t going to fly as an excuse. Nor should it. But this is where the depth of the Thunder pays dividends — they can rest one or two of their “big three” at a time and not really suffer a huge drop off. When LeBron sits the Heat struggle right now. Do that for too long against the Thunder and the Heat will find themselves in a deep hole. The Thunder will be relentless.

It’s something to watch in Game 2 — can LeBron just get a few minutes of rest? How does that impact him when the game is on the line?

It’s just part of the huge mountain the Heat have to climb. And it is a steep one.

  1. p1nch3dloaf - Jun 14, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Good news is he’ll get plenty of rest after the Thunder sweep the Heap.

    • p1nch3dloaf - Jun 14, 2012 at 11:56 PM

      Way to defend homecourt chOklahoma!

      Dominant performance by Bron, and Battier’s been lights out.

      gg

    • soflasfinest - Jun 15, 2012 at 12:33 AM

      @pinch you were saying? Suck it

  2. lucidsportsfan - Jun 14, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Was he tired in all six 4th quarters of the Finals last year, when he put up some of the worst numbers any star player ever has? http://www.lucidsportsfan.com/2011_06_12_archive.html#2049941527228952857 If the trend continues we may just have to accept the fact that it’s in his makeup to shy away from the biggest moments.

  3. livingsacrifice86 - Jun 14, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Lebron absolutely carries the Heat. Bosh and Wade have been extremely inconsistent all year. I don’t think at this point that excuse is valid, but Lebron does practically play the enitre game and I question the rotation Spoelstra is using right now. But hey, what do I know.

    • dirkified - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:22 PM

      Do you watch basketball? LJ was MVP because other teams were busy guarding the Heats best player, Wade. I am a mavs fan and would kill to have Wade or Rose on my team.

      • livingsacrifice86 - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:49 PM

        I do watch basketball, alot of it actually. Thank you for asking. Listen, I like Wade and I think he’s one of the stars in the league, but my point was that he and Bosh have been so inconsistent that Spoelstra doesn’t even trust them enough to sit Lebron and give him a breather. And if you honestly think that DWade is better than Lebron, my only question to you is – do YOU watch basketball?

    • dirkified - Jun 14, 2012 at 9:05 PM

      yes, a lot. But limited on the Miami Heat. But I was at the finals last year and watched the ECF this year and game 1. Wade is a beast. The next time you see LeBron doing this thing, you will see that most of the time Wade is being focused on. OKC is making sure this series is not won by Wade, who can dominate a series. That leaves LJ “not open but certainly not blanketed like Wade” lots of movement to doe his things, which is is very good at in his own right.

  4. steelerswin6 - Jun 14, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    LeLoser is now ‘tired’…. Aww maybe he needs his binkie and a nap

  5. abchome - Jun 14, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    If you need a breather, just tell your coach.

    • gmen4life33 - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:13 PM

      To be fair, can you IMAGINE what the media and fans would do if it came out Lebron asked out of a Finals game for rest? He would get killed. Dude puts up 30 pts in Game 1 of the FInals and still gets no love.

      You almost feel bad for him, until you remember he was loved until the Decision and the arrogance that followed. He did it to himself.

      • dirkified - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:18 PM

        LeBron does not care what anyone thinks of him. NO one feels bad for him because of what he does off the court. During photo shoots in the finals last year, he refused to talk to anyone except his friends. As a photographer, I would be pissed having to tell a guy next to me to tell the idiot 10ft away what I said. Simply because I am a photographer and are apparently a less of a human than his 9th grade educated head. He thinks he is better than people. People can read into that and this is why no one other than bandwagon Heat fans like him.

      • abchome - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:37 PM

        Yes. But I think it would still be better than asking for rest publicly, and let the coaches rest him when not really necessary.

      • dirkified - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:38 PM

        gmen, Cam Newton put up amazing stats last year too, but IT ALL COMES DOWN TO WINS “just ask your qb Eli”!! LeBron can put up 100pts, sure that is great in all but if he scores 100pts and loses.. then is means nothing.. He will get love from his fans when he WINS.

      • dirkified - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:42 PM

        ABCHOME, it is Spoltra’s butt if he does not have his best players on the floor. THis is the finals, not some road game #25. LeBron is conditioned enough to play the minutes. He is not the first player to play this many in the finals after a grueling year. No one is 100% this time of the year. I think this is the biggest cop-out excuse I have heard in a long time.

  6. rickyspanish - Jun 14, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Another post painting a bleak picture for the Heat? I wish I was surprised. So much for objectivity Helin.

  7. buffalowned - Jun 14, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Spoelstra needs to give him 2 or 3 mins in the 2nd half. Yet he doesnt…Another reason he is a terrible coach. And people wonder why lebron looks tired in the 4th

  8. cosanostra71 - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    basketball’s version of the Buffalo Bills

  9. bigbenh8tr - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    I’ll see if you let me comment this time. This quote came prior to game 1 of the series and you post it like its news? I would rather hear what lebron eats before every game that makes him come in the 4th

  10. virusgvr - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Championships…. Not 5, 6, 7 or 8 or even 9…. Hell… I don’t think he will even get 1 at this point. Maybe the mouth ranith a little overith…..

  11. seahawks55 - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    A “quiet” 7 for a quarter? 7 times 4 = 28. That’s a 28 ppg average. that’s really quiet isn’t it?

  12. isujames - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    These are the same people who thought/predicted the Spurs would beat OKC.Lebron doesn’t need another 40/15, Lebron just needs to do what he does with Wade and Bosh stepping up on both sides of the ball.The Heat will be alright,they have two of the top five players in the NBA.Good luck OKC and your fans.

  13. ezwriter69 - Jun 14, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    “Lack of rest isn’t going to fly as an excuse.”
    But you’ll keep trying to make it for him anyway. You LeBron apologists are hilarious.

    You can’t be The King without a crown. Just that simple.

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