Photo by Jim Davis of the Boston Globe.
Oh for Pistol Pete’s sake! The man scored 30 points last night!
And he didn’t get beat on that last 3 pointer by some nobody sub. It was Paul Goddamn Man Pierce!
Yahoo Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski:
The Heat don't need pep talks out of Spoelstra, but a game plan for victory. Mostly, they need James to declare his greatness and deliver to the magnitude of the moment. For his own sake, his own peace, he has to rage against that Celtics monolith, those banners, his own gory Garden history, and get these Eastern Conference finals back to the shores of Biscayne Bay for a Game 7 on Saturday night.
Look. I’m a Cetlics fan from kidhood. I’m enjoying this. I’d have enjoyed it if LeBron scored only 30 points the whole series. But he hasn’t. He’s averaged nearly 30. He’s totaled 159. And he could score 60, 80, 90 or 100 more over the next two games, if the Celts don’t finish it off in one, which I hope they do, but the point is LeBron is a great player already. He’s not going to get greater by force of will. He can’t turn himself into Michael Jordan by wishing it. He can’t do it without also wishing somebody else on the team into Scottie Pippin and Erik Spoelstra into Phil Jackson.
I wrote this in my review of Scott Raab’s weirdly fun and funnily weird book-length rant against James, The Whore of Akron:
…as great as he was on his own Jordan needed Phil Jackson and Scottie Pippin to become the transcendent player he was. The Cavs tried to build a team around James that would help him bring a championship home to Cleveland, but they never found him a Pippin who could make that team do the right things in support of the hero and, judging by Raab’s reporting, they never tried to bring in the right sort of coach. And it appears that something else never figured in the thinking either of fans or the basketball insiders. It takes more than talent and will to be Michael Jordan. It takes a certain kind of ambition.
Jordan wanted to be the hero-king.
But he also wanted the responsibilities that went along with that.
That second part makes him an exceptional human being. As I said, James has never struck me as exceptional, except in his talent.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. Most of us are not born to play the lead. James may be a natural second banana, a supporting player happier going without top billing. (Not to go all Freudian here, but I suspect he was taught to think of himself this way by his charismatic but narcissistic and domineering mother who seems to think her son was born to make her a star.) James may have known this about himself and it figured in his decision to leave Cleveland. Dwayne Wade, James’ Miami teammate, the Kirk in the triumvirate of Wade, James, and Chris Bosh---and don’t ask me which of the latter two is Spock and which is McCoy---and whom Raab regards as one of the chief devils who tempted James away, appears to have known it too. The Cavs were going about it backwards. Instead of looking for players who could support James, they should have been looking for stars James could mesh with rather than lead.
It’s Wade who’s been having the less than stellar post-season. And Bosh played hurt last night and was out there for all of 14 minutes. Putting it all on James is unfair. It’s unfair to him. It’s unfair to the Celtics who simply outplayed the Heat the last two games. And it’s unfair to Doc Rivers who’s a better coach than Spoelstra.
There are two Big Threes in this series, and the individuals in both trios play better as a part of their respective trios. They’re like the Three Musketeers. Pierce, Allen, and Garnett are getting old but they have Rondo to come to their rescue. He’s D’Artagnan to their Musketeers. Miami doesn’t have a D’Artagnan.
Anyway, this might be a good time to re-read (or read if you missed it or gave it the skip the first time around) my review of Raab’s book, LeBron James and the breaking of Cleveland’s collective heart.
Time-out for a swashbuckling update: Thinking it over, the Kirk-Spock-McCoy analogy really doesn’t work for Miami’s Big Three. But the Three Musketeers does. Wade is Athos, the dour leader of barely suppressed angers. Bosh is Aramis, the dashing, elegant, enigmatic one. And James is Porthos, big, strong, boisterous, and vain as all get out. But like I said, they have no D’Artagnan and they need one.