MIA loses to IND 75 – 78, and yes you read that right, the alternate title of this post is, The David West Show.
His stats show it (16pts., 10rebs., 1 ass. in 40 mins, topscoring for IND), his play shows it, but most importantly, his leadership shows it. At the end of the game amidst a stunned MIA crowd, he was waving and screaming at his teammates to get back in the dugout because ‘this is just one game’ (or something like that). What he was trying to say was that they’ve got a series to play, and winning a single game really doesn’t prove much. That is strong stuff man. That is righteous, correct and strong.
As for LeBron, this is what i got to say:
Just before I watched the game I read this excellent article from ESPN which talks about Wade essentially accepting the ‘Scottie Pippen’ role in his partnership with LeBron, with the writer tying this up to how LeBron blossomed into his role eventually deserving MVP.
So I was watching the game with that frame of mind. LeBron = Michael, DWade = Scottie.
And you know what, it was nothing like that. Because if LeBron is to play like Mike, he’s gotta take that ball and shove it down the hole. No passing, no even thinking about passing, just shoot that thing any which way you can and live and die by the results. 13 seconds to go in the game, LeBron had the ball at the 3 pt line guarded by someone (possibly Hill, maybe Hibbert). He can take this guy 1 on 1. Hell he can take anyone 1 on 1. DWade makes a curl at the other side of the court, getting free from the defender. LeBron passes the ball to him, making DWade make the play.
And that’s the big difference right there. Michael would think that was a teammate playing decoy, in order for him to do his thing. LeBron? He’s thinking ‘should I take this in, or should I pass this over?’. And the way I see it, come crunchtime you really shouldn’t have any doubt as to what you’re about to do. DWade’s cut turned out to have been stopped and eventually he had to create. He missed, IND gets the rebound, one thing led to another and we have IND winning Game 2.
If I were LeBron, I’d be thinking all things being equal, if DWade has to create anyway then it might as well be him shooting it. Forget the team crap. I’m the highest scorer. I’m the mo-fo MVP Goddamit. Gimme the ball.
Now I know a lot of purists aren’t gonna like that, but these same purists probably didn’t like Michael taking over the game, and even Kobe doing his thing these days. Hell I’m one of those purists myself. I will always praise basketball as a team sport, played, won or lost as a team by a team. But I’ve come to realize that come specific situations commonly called as ‘crunchtime’, you go where your strengths are, and if you have LeBron on your team you therefore go to him 9 times out of 10. And with DWade admitting to his Scottie role, which isn’t a small role by any scale, the issue of him not being cool with that is presumably settled, and so LeBron can therefore have his way without worrying what anyone feels about it.
Basically what I’m trying to say is: Goddamit LeBron. Get it done man. You have the ball with your team down by 2, the seconds ticking away. DO NOT PASS THAT BALL.
OK Back To IND
So I’m gonna revert back to the title of this post by focusing on IND again. This is my first time to watch them in action after hearing many times of how capable they are, and I gotta say, yes they are the real thing.
They have Leandro Barbosa (8pts). How in hell do you get lucky enough to have the Brazilian Blur in your lineup? That guy’s defense of course is suspect, but everything else is an afterthought once he gets the ball to the ring. Of course there’s also Granger (11pts.) as well and George, but finally there is David West.
West reminds me a great deal of Metta World Peace. A body made of granite that has people bouncing off of him, a complete game in their position, and the ability to turn it on every night. This guy is an All Star, one of those players that are essential for any successful team, and I’m not surprised Boston tried so hard to get him. He’s reliable, and every series, including this one, will depend on how he and guys like him play.
MIA on the other hand looks soft. James and Wade were the only ones who scored in double figures (28 and 24), and everyone else looked out of synch. Which really can all be solved as long as they have a leader, which will make me want to start talking about James again and I really don’t want to already.
I don’t want to make predictions this early but assuming that’s all MIA has to offer, I’m going with IND in 6 or 7 games at this time.