Anybody who saw last night’s playoff game knows that LeBron James carried this team on his shoulders right into the Conference Finals.
James scored 14 points in the first quarter (all of New Jersey had only 15 points) and the Cavs burst out to a 17-point lead. They held that margin until the third quarter, when LBJ was forced to the bench with four fouls. As James sat on the bench, his team squandered all but one point of the huge lead.
As the fourth quarter began, LeBron took the floor with a look of intensity, and you just knew that the Nets were finished. LeBron was there to take his team to the next round, and nobody was going to stop him. Even the Nets knew it. 13 seconds into the quarter, Mikki Tyler Moore had to change his defensive strategy and the refs caught him for the illegal D and called a technical foul. Over the course of the 4th quarter, James has 8 points, 4 rebounds and three assists to just one turnover and no fouls. Extrapolate that out….what would you do to have a player get 32 points, 16 rebounds and 12 assists in the biggest playoff game of his career? Plus, the Nets found themselves scrambling to cover LeBron, which ended up leaving Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones wide open for easy threes. Even when he’s not scoring or assisting, he’s drawing defense away from other players.
LeBron is the biggest superstar left in the NBA today. No Piston, no Spur, and no Jazz player can compare to what we have in #23. In only four years, he took this team to the Conference Finals. Tell me what Michael Jordan did in his first four years.
– In four years, Jordan took the Bulls to the conference semi-finals.
– LeBron took the Cavs to the Conference Finals.
– In four years, Jordan led the Bulls to 5 playoff wins.
– LeBron has taken the Cavs to 15 (and counting).
– In four years, Jordan’s playoff record was 5-16.
– LeBron’s playoff record is 15-8 (and counting).
Jordan won his first NBA Title in his 7th year. Will LeBron have his in the next three years? Maybe. Hell, he might have it in the next three weeks.
Is LeBron James better than Michael Jordan? No, of course not. But in the 4th year of his career, he has taken his team to MUCH greater success than Jordan had at this point.
The kid’s got what it takes. Will he need a Scottie Pippen to reach the peak? We’ll find out starting Monday.