THE Sports & Swag Report

NBA: Lebron James feeling like he’s in Cleveland all over again…..

By: Carey Wood

Lebron is having to put the Miami Heat on his back, much the same way he did for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The city of Miami, in a lot of ways is nothing like the city of Cleveland. There are obvious differences. Miami, is located as far south as you can go in the U.S. Cleveland is located about as far north, as you can travel in the U.S. While Cleveland does have the Cuyahoga river, it’s not virtually surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and some of the country’s most beautiful beaches like Miami is. Then, there are two very distinct differences between the two cities. One is the climate, especially in the winter, and the other are the city’s NBA teams. However, the team Lebron took his talents to, is starting to look a lot like the team he left.

Lebron, himself, acknowledged the similarities after the Heat’s game 5 victory over the Indiana Pacers. In game 5 post game interviews, Lebron said “I kind of just went back to my Cleveland days at that point and just said, ‘Hey, let’s try to make more plays and be more of a scoring threat as well. ” It’s a good thing he did. The Heat struggled through the first two quarters to score, as the Pacers defense stifled them, in what was undoubtedly the most vital game, to date for Miami in the 2013 playoffs. The Heat trailed 44-40 at the half, then Lebron took over.

After giving his teammates an expletive filled pep talk , so to speak, James went on to score 16 points, and added 4 assists to account for 25 of his team’s 30 points in the 3rd quarter. Turning a 4 point deficit beginning the 3rd quarter, into a 13 point lead at the end of the 3rd quarter. The Heat went on to win 90-79, to take a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. As important for his team as, Lebron was in the 2nd half of game 5, he’s been just as important in the playoffs as a whole. In fact, he’s been downright vital. Did Lebron expect his performance to be as vital, as it’s needed to be though. Especially, playing next to superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh?

Including Miami’s game 5 victory, Lebron is scoring 28.4 points per game in the playoffs. Wade, is averaging 15.4 points, which is considerably lower than his 21 points per game in the regular season, and Bosh is averaging 12.6 points, which is lower than is 16.6 points per game in the regular season. Breaking down the stats even further, Lebron is scoring nearly 25 percent of the Miami Heat’s points this postseason. In the 2010 playoffs with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Lebron averaged almost 30 percent of the team’s points. The numbers are not far off at all. Who woulda thunk the disparity would be so small.

To be fair, Wade and Bosh are nursing nagging injuries, which have probably influenced their playoff performances. Even with the injuries, their presence on the floor is a lot more troublesome for an opposing defense, than any combination of players the Cavaliers could have ever come up with. That means, things are still a lot easier for Lebron offensively, even though he’s having to shoulder so much of the load. I never would have thought the comparison between Lebron in Cleveland, and Lebron in Miami would be so even. I’m sure this playoff run isn’t quite what Lebron expected either, when he decided to take his talents to South Beach. One things for sure, Wade, Bosh and the rest of their Miami teammates are going to have to step up and play closer to their capabilities, if the Heat are going to repeat as NBA champions.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/2447598408/“>Keith Allison</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com“>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/“>cc</a>

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