Friday, May 27, 2011

LeBron: Best in Show...Right Now.

Before you start reading this post, reach up to your eyes and remove the "I Hate LeBron" colored shades you might be wearing. I took mine off on Tuesday night. That allowed me to watch LeBron close out Game 4 that night, and then help orchestrate the greatest comeback/collapse in recent memory. I'm just waiting for the new NBA commercial..."The Eastern Conference Finals: Where 18-3 in the final two minutes and forty-five seconds Happens."

This is not the scene most NBA fans wanted to see.
It's well documented that Daily Onions has not been the biggest fan of the Miami Heat, LeBron James and Chris Bosh this year. We weren't impressed when LeBron lit up the Cavs in his first return, we knocked them when they cried after a regular season loss, we said LeBron couldn't close (which was valid), and we thought LeBron's apology to for The Decision AFTER he beat the Celtics was a day late and a dollar short.

Now I'm not going to go all Scottie Pippen on you and claim that LeBron James is the greatest all-around basketball player ever. That's just stupid, Scottie. I will say this though. LeBron James might be taking that next step. It's the step that he has been missing for the past 7 years. The step that is him putting his foot on the throat of the opponent, and closing something out. He did against Boston by scoring the final ten points of a game to seal it. He closed out the Bulls in Game 2, 4 and 5. Remember that suspect jump shot that he had, well it looked to be quite deadly last night with a couple of threes to get the Heat back into the game, and then the 18 foot pull-up jumper to give them the lead for good. Throw in what he did on the defensive end, shutting down this year's (well-deserved) MVP Derrick Rose in the last quarter of the final two games, pretty damn impressive (We'll get to Rose's struggles in a second).

You can hate the way LeBron James left Cleveland (we do), but if you truly enjoy watching the game of basketball on the court, what LeBron has done in the last two weeks has proven that he is hands down the best player in the NBA right now (Scottie, notice the two words "right now"). We've all witnessed him go through his growing pains over the last few seasons, but in this playoffs he's started to put it all together. Does the fact that he teamed up with Wade and Bosh to help get to this point rub me the wrong way? Yes. It does. Does his wink after the flop last night annoy me? Absolutely. But the skill, athleticism, and tenacity that he has had in the past few weeks, is all him. And its scary good.

As much as it pains me to say this, I think Miami beats Dallas in the Finals. I hate that part of this whole thing. Its bad for the future of the NBA. You get 2 super-duper stars on one team, throw in another all-star (I'll admit, Bosh had a pretty good series vs. the Bulls), and you can win in your first year of playing together. That pep-rally they threw in mid-July was just foreshadowing for what they'll do to celebrate in a few weeks. I don't like that part of it. I wanted LeBron to go head to head with Wade to see who was the best in the league, not team up with him to dominate the next few years. That's not happening, and now we need another super team to form and knock off the Heat (Dwight Howard, or a good shooting guard, if you are reading this, feel free to crash in our guest room while you are thinking about how to get traded to Chicago).

And now a few words about Derrick Rose. First of all, don't rip on Rose for taking a jumper at the end of regulation of Game 4. At that point in the game, there was NO WAY Rose was taking LeBron off the dribble to get to the rim. Either there needs to be a play drawn up where Rose is coming off a screen and catching on the wing, or you are living and dying by a pull-up jumper. Last night, the final three minutes of the game could have been Rose's worst three minutes of the season, or even career (minus a nice baby hook floater in the lane w/ 1:45 left). He fouled Wade on a breakaway layup for a 3-point play, he fouled Wade on a three for a 4-point play, he turned the ball over when the game was tied, and missed a free throw that would have tied the game with 25 seconds left. Before we take the MVP trophy away from him, let's remember this. First, his supporting cast let him down. Carlos Boozer might have replaced Chris Bosh at the top of the "Daily Onions Most Disliked Overrated Power Forwards with the initials CB" list. The Bulls aren't winning anything if Boozer is your next best scoring option. Secondly, Rose is 22-years old, and this was his first Eastern Conference Finals. Not many of the greats won at this age, or their first time around. Derrick Rose will be back to this stage (next year?) and he'll be better. The "only" bad thing is, so will the Heat.

No comments:

Post a Comment