The biggest stages usually bring out the best in people. If you don’t believe me, you can ask Lebron James. Thursday night’s pivotal game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals showcased Lebron James’ talents. We saw his scoring ability, we saw his passing ability, but most of all we saw his will to win. You know those movies that start somewhere in the middle and then rewind to the beginning? Yea, I’m going to do that now. The outcome of this game was decided by Lebron James’ performance in the 3rd quarter. Lebron James out scored the Indiana Pacers 16-13 by himself in the 3rd quarter (yes you heard that right). Yes, he did receive some help from his friends (no not Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh), however this victory rests on the shoulders of Lebron and Lebron only. Think about it this way: if I told you that Wade and Bosh would combine for 17 points, you would have told me that the Pacers would win this game. But then again, the Heat do have the best player on the planet. If you didn’t watch the game, his friends who did show up last night were Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem. Chalmers and Haslem scored a combined 28 points on 13 of 21 shooting from the field including 6 consecutive jump shots made by Haslem in the all important 3rd quarter. But, like I said earlier, this game was won by 1 man.
Nope, you don’t need to get up and check your TV, the movie just cut to black and rewound itself to the beginning. This game was the most important game of the year for both sides. From the opening tip, we clearly saw an intensity and urgency from both teams that you’d expect from a game of this magnitude. The Pacers came out playing their style of basketball. We saw hard nosed defense, solid rebounding, and offensive efficiency around the basket. On the other hand, while the Heat’s energy was up, their play was not in the 1st quarter. Offensively, Lebron and the Heat came out flat, scoring just 19 points in the entire 1st quarter. Lebron started the game with 2 straight turnovers, and the Heat were lucky they weren’t run off the court in the 1st quarter. If it wasn’t for 3 missed layups in the quarter by the Pacers, they could have carried a 10 point lead into the 2nd quarter.
As for the 2nd quarter, the game became slightly more entertaining. With 3 minutes gone in the quarter, Chris Anderson decided he didn’t like the way Tyler Hansbrough was standing, so he gave him an intentional shoulder from behind that sent Hansbrough to the floor. Hansbrough (a man of better self control than I) got up and simply stood his ground without retaliating. Anderson walked back toward Hansbrough and after bumping chests angrily shoved Hansbrough with two hands. Now in no way am I blaming this loss on the referees, but I am simply pointing out that it is LUDICROUS for Anderson not to have been ejected from this game. Don’t agree or haven’t seen the incident? Click here:
In most cases I would say that Chris Anderson being ejected wouldn’t effect the outcome of the game (because he’s a bum), but in this series he actually serves a purpose. He is basically the Heat’s only physical presence down low, and he plays that gritty style of basketball that no one else on this team can. Against the Pacers he is a plus, unlike his usual role as a drain on society. After the skirmish was sorted out, Anderson was hit with a Flagrant-1 Foul while Hansbrough received a Technical Foul. In all seriousness, what in the f’in world did Hansbrough do to deserve a technical???? He didn’t open his mouth, he didn’t instigate any further action, and he didn’t even retaliate. So, after watching numerous replays, how is it that the referees still get the call 100% wrong? And how is Anderson not ejected from the game? I can’t come up with one valid reason for him not being tossed from this game, so if you can come up with something please let me know. Anyway, I digress.
Lebron James must have spent his halftime in the locker room staring at a blank wall just thinking to himself or something. He must have been mentally preparing himself for what was about to happen. He most likely had one of those moments where the intense workout music comes on and Rocky goes through some crazy training to prepare himself for the fight of his life because he came out of that locker room like a changed man. He looked his teammates in their eyes and screamed at them. Then he grabbed hold of the reigns and said hold on for the ride. Good for you Lebron. Way to man up and take charge when your teammates are playing like crap. Lebron literally did it all. Defense, offense, intangibles, and the list goes on and on. I think he even flew the plane to Indiana and cooked dinner for the team last night too.
Now, it is on to Game 6 in Indiana. The heat lead the series 3 games to 2, and will find themselves in the NBA Finals for the 3rd consecutive year with a victory Saturday night. However, a gritty Pacers team still stands in their way of that. The Pacers are a much better team at home than they are on the road, and I’m going to assume they will get more than 5 points from their entire starting back court. I think they punch back with a solid win in Game 6 and force a decisive Game 7 in Miami. What do you think? Do the Pacers have one last push in them or will they fold and go down in 6 to the Heat? Leave me your thoughts and comments below. Thanks.
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