Twenty-two shots may seem like a lot of shots for anyone to take in a basketball game, especially when scoring only nineteen points. But, for the Cleveland Cavaliers to be successful against the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Lebron James needs to look for his shot as often as possible. With Kevin Love out for the remainder of the playoffs, and J.R. Smith out for the first two games of this series, points could come at a premium. James, has to take it upon himself to be the aggressor. He was anything but in the 99-92 loss last night to the Bulls.
We’ve seen that side of LeBron before. How about the 45-point Game 6 performance at the Indiana Pacers in 2012, when it was clear he had to carry the Big 3 and the Miami Heat to get them out of that series? In Game 7 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals, he scored 48 points against the Detroit Pistons, to clinch the series and reach the NBA Finals. How that Cavs team made the Finals we’ll never know. This Cavs team has more firepower even without Love. Kyrie Irving, who led Cleveland with 30 points is light years better than anyone else that’s played next to LeBron in Cleveland. However, this is unquestionably King James’ team, and it’s going to take more than James being a facilitator to beat the Bulls.
With Kyrie in the fold, it won’t take having to score 48 on a nightly basis. It’s doubtful LeBron would be able to score those type numbers anyway. The Bulls are and have been for a while the best team to matchup against him defensively. The Bulls have multiple players that can take the challenge throughout a game. Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, and others will all see facetime with the King, and all are capable of success. Bulls head coach (for now), Tom Thibodeau is also a master at drawing up schemes to take certain players out of games. Again, no matter the circumstances James has to be the aggressor. Haven’t we had this same conversation before about LeBron? Yes. We have. Yet, here we are again.
In addition, to LeBron and Kyrie, there needs to be some help from his South Beach buddy, Mike Miller. With Love out, someone has to take up some of that slack. Miller, is probably incapable of a performance like he had in the 2012 playoff run for the Heat. But, he’s a guy that knows how to play and defend different positions on the floor, and he’s also a good shooter from the Perimeter. Miller, started Game 1 and will counted upon. Also, counted upon will be the veteran Shawn Marion.
If Derrick Rose, and Pau Gasol continue to play the way they did in Game 1, it’s hard seeing the Cavs win this series. Regardless, LeBron has to be ‘King James’. He has to put this team and for that matter, the entire city of Cleveland on his back and deliver. After all, that’s why he came home isn’t it?
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