I’ve heard several media personalities state this week that LeBron James is back to being the go to guy on the Heat. This is almost solely based on his series so far against the Knicks. The first problem with this statement is that absolutely zero conclusions should be drawn about the Heat or any players on the Heat based on their 1st round series with New York. Miami is so much better, hungrier and healthier than the Knicks that it is amazing this series is going to a 5th game. James could have sat out the first five games and the Knicks still would have struggled to win a game.
The other problem with declaring that James is “back” is that he has yet to take over a close game in this series. Heck, until Sunday there hadn’t been a close game. When James had a chance to put his stamp on Game 4 he, of course, decided to just blend in. He allowed Erik Spoelstra to let Shane Battier guard Carmelo Anthony in the 4th quarter instead of demanding that he stick his small forward counterpart who he has stymied for most of the series. He looked like he would make up for this lack of assertiveness when he scored six points in the final two minutes to give the Heat a chance to tie or win the game in the final seconds. Once again though, instead of demanding the ball, he let’s Dwayne Wade dribble around for 13 seconds and miss a fall away 3-pointer at the buzzer. Looks like the same King to me, which means the Heat will likely fall short of a championship for a second straight year.
I consider myself a diehard NBA fan but I am having a hard time getting into this Pacers/Magic series. I think it is a combination of the fact that I never thought the Magic had a chance of winning the series and that the Pacers were done in the second round against the Heat once they advanced.
I think it is safe to assume that the Lakers and Thunder will meet in Round 2 after Denver blew their chance on Sunday night to give Los Angeles a scare. With that said, we are in for a hell of a series. Outside of the obvious old throne/new throne angle the matchups and subplots between these two teams will be fascinating. Can the Lakers point guard combination of Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake slow down the athletic freak that is Russell Westbrook? What will OKC try to do to neutralize the Twin Tower frontcourt of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol? What superstar will rein supreme, Kobe Bryant of Kevin Durant? All of these questions come to mind and I haven’t brought up the retaliation angle with OKC and the soon to be unsuspended Metta World Peace (who was suspended at the end of the regular season for a vicious elbow to the face of James Harden). Oops I just did. Easily the most interesting series of the 2nd Round.
The Spurs may have won all four of their games against the Grizzlies in the regular season but I would imagine that they don’t want any part of them in the next round. As you probably remember, Memphis stunned top seeded San Antonio in six games in the opening round last year. The same problem that led to last year’s first round ouster remains this year; the Spurs will have a tough time matching up down low against Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. When you add in the prospect that the Grizzlies can defend Manu Ginobli with Rudy Gay this year (remember Gay missed all of the 2011 playoffs with a shoulder injury) and it looks like Memphis will once again have the goods to eliminate San Antonio. They may not get the chance though if they don’t find a way to win three of a possible four games against the Clippers, starting last night in a pivotal Game 4.
A Staff Writer for RotoExperts, Tamer Chamma is a two time top 50 Finalist in the WFAN Fantasy Phenom contest as well as a weekly guest on the SiriusXM "RotoExperts" morning show. Tamer is also a fill-in co-host for the show. You may contact Tamer @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @RotoExperts_TC