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LeBron Freaking James

I always say, nothing ever lives up to the hype. LeBron James is the rare exception.

April 26, 2018 - 12:49 pm
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As I always say, nothing ever lives up to the hype. LeBron James is the rare exception. He came into the NBA with crazy, crazy hype. We’re talking Tony Mandarich meets Todd Van Poppel with JaMarcus Russell, Felipe Lopez, Freddy Adu, and the two Heismans of Ron Powlus mixed in. And 15 years, 3 titles, 4 MVPs, 7 straight trips to the Finals, he’s still exceeding it. And not just exceeding it, smashing it in ridiculous fashion. 

44 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, and one absolutely electric sequence in the final seconds. It was another one of those “do I have to do everything around here?” performances from LeBron and the answer is yes, yes you do. And he did. 

With the scored tied at 95, Victor Oladipo drove to the basket and this is what happened next 

An incredible recovery and block. Was it a goaltend? Just ask Vic: "I got a step on him and I felt I even got grabbed. It hit the backboard and he blocked it. It was a goaltend. It's hard to even speak on it. That layup is huge." 

So was it a goaltend? Maybe. Probably. Almost definitely. But it wasn’t called and I don’t care because it set up this. 

Money. An absolute all-timer from a guy who has a career of all-timers. Game-saving, chase down block on one end, game-winning three on the other. A truly legendary and iconic moment that had everyone racing for comparisons. Was that MJ versus the Cavs in ‘89? Or LeBron versus the Magic in 09? Or LeBron versus Minnesota earlier this season?

Allie LaForce asked him after the game what he had said to his teammates before the play and his response: “Just give me the ball.”

Yeah, King, I’m not sure you needed to say that. I don’t think your teammates wanted the ball or would even know what to do if they got it. Everyone not named Kyle Korver was a complete mess. Kevin Love: 2 for 11. JR Smith: 0 for 8. His biggest contribution to the game was the post-game interview shower for LeBron. 

And the worst part, from an Indiana perspective, is you knew what was going to happen. You knew where the ball was going to go and that you had a foul to give and you didn’t give it. Nate McMillan said they talked about it in the huddle and they just didn’t execute. 

Agreed, but I’d actually argue they were just powerless to stop him. Indiana is a good team. They’re a smart team. They knew what was going to happen just like everyone else in the building knew what was going to happen and there was nothing that could be done to prevent it. That was like when a great pitcher has a 3-2 count, you know what pitch he’s going with, you’re ready for it, you’ve prepared for it, and you still can’t touch it. Indiana knew what LeBron was going to do, they talked about it, they’ve prepared for it, and they still couldn’t stop it. That is greatness. 

And the thing is, LeBron didn’t execute because as Brent Barry pointed out in the commentary, there wasn’t a play there. It was just give LeBron the ball and let him go to work. And he did.

"As a kid you always have those 3, 2, 1 moments and that's what it kind of felt like. I felt like I was a kid all over again playing basketball at my house on makeshift hoops and my socks as a basketball."

He’s right. Who didn’t have those kind of moments as a kid? I know I did. I also know that mine didn’t include blocking a shot at the other end to set up that 3-2-1 moment. 

And yeah, normally taking a 3-2 lead and holding home court advantage doesn’t warrant jumping on the scorer’s table. Normally, I’d say that Spurs fan screaming “WE DID IT! WE DID IT!” after winning Game 2 back in the day would’ve thought that was an overreaction.

But not last night. Not after that block and that shot. Do that and you can celebrate any way you want. And now LeBron heads back to Indiana with a 3-2 lead over the Pacers. Yes, you heard me, LeBron 3, Pacers 2.