Friday, June 22, 2012

Lebron goes from prince to finally becoming king!

By Kshell

After years of suffering Lebron James can finally be called an NBA champion. When the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-106 in game five to win the series four games to one the Heat have won their second championship in franchise history. More importantly the leagues greatest player Lebron James has won his first NBA title in his 9th season and was named NBA Finals MVP. Lebron capped his terrific playoffs with a triple double scoring 26 points, dishing out 13 assists and grabbing 11 rebounds. James in these finals averaged 28.6 points per game, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game. James came to Miami to win a title and after making an ass of himself his first season in Miami that humbling experience made him who he was today.  James won his third MVP award in four seasons averaging 27.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG and 6.2 APG. In these playoffs he was even better averaging 30.3 PPG, 9.7 RPG and 5.6 APG. James who has always put up amazing stats finally silenced his critics after last year for the first time in his career he had a bad playoff series in last years NBA finals. James had amazing playoff games that will now be remembered because he finally won a title.

In the summer of 2010 James had "the decision" which was when the Seattle Sports Blog was formed so I always look back to that summer. James decided to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form the "super team." They held a celebration before ever playing a game where Lebron famously said "not one, not two, not three.....not seven championships." The Heat immediately became the villains of the NBA and James was the poster child of that hate by every NBA city. After getting off to an 8-9 start which everyone figured 40 year old head coach Erik Spoelstra would be fired the Heat battled back to go to the NBA Finals. After being up two games to one Lebron no showed the final three games and the Dallas Mavericks upset the Heat. There was speculation that the Heat should blow this up as they don't have enough role guys and that Spoelstra was over his head. Instead Pat Riley stayed the course and added Shane Battier  to the team as the only major move heading into the strike shorten 2012 season. James played free as if he accepted that he can't please everyone and more importantly he took a hard look in the mirror at himself. I noticed on twitter instead of making snarky remarks towards Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert he was interacting with fans. He vowed win or lose he was going to play hard this Finals and to his credit he backed it up. The "decision" was a bushleague move that probably helped James become an even greater player than we could have ever imagined. James had to endure last season to finally grow into this season just like Michael Jordan had to do in the late 1980's, Shaq in the 90's when losing to the Bulls then Jazz, or Kobe post Shaq. Every player has to go through these pains and James is no different and neither is Kevin Durant.

For Kevin Durant his time isn't now. For those who thought the Thunder were going to win and Vegas had them as favorites they forgot the rules of the NBA. You have to pay your dues first which Lebron, Wade and Bosh have. While Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden haven't done yet. Durant who has won the last three scoring titles and lit up game one of the finals scoring 36 points including 17 in the fourth quarter proved he is a great scorer but not on Lebron's level.....yet. Durant these finals averaged 30.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 2.2 APG making 2.6 three pointers a game. Durant was a great scorer these playoffs but his all around game could still use some work. These playoffs Durant averaged 28.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG and made 2.05 three pointers a game. Westbrook had his moments like scoring 43 points in game four loss on 20-32 shooting but also had his low moments shooting 4-20 in a game five elmination loss. James Harden who was terrific all postseason was a total no show in the finals who padded his stats when the game was a blowout in game five. Still Durant is only 23(turns 24 in September), Westbrook is 23(turns 24 in September) and Harden is 22(turns 23 in August). Their three best players are well ahead of the learning curve. The fact they are already in the NBA finals and have lost to eventual NBA champions the last three seasons shows they are right there. Durant is going to have his day eventually where he is king and winning all the rings. For now though Lebron is showing that he isn't ready to give up the "best player in the game" award that he has held the last few seasons.

When Durant finally wins his ring it won't be as big of a deal as today since there is no player quite like Lebron James. Good or bad people have a strong opinion on James that hasn't been seen before. He is talented, says stupid things and grew up in the 24/7 media world we live in which creates a perfect storm. This is Lebron's time and he left Cleveland so he can have help. Mario Chalmers scored 25 points in game four win, while Mike Miller had 23 points in game five hitting seven three pointers. Shane Battier scored 17 points hitting five three pointers in the game two win. Chris Bosh despite playing hurt these finals averaged a gritty 14.6 PPG and 9.4 RPG. Meanwhile Dwyane Wade bounced back from a rough game one to average 22.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 5.2 APG. Without those guys James probably doesn't have a ring but that isn't to diminish James title. Jon Paxson and Steve Kerr hit game winning shots in NBA finals clinchers for Michael Jordan and who can forget Ron Artest hitting a dagger three pointer to bail out Kobe Bryant's 6-24 in the Finals in game 7 in 2010?  These clutch moments by others are what helps stars reach their championship totals but stars do have to come through in big moments and James did just that this postseason.

The Heat are the first ever team to win a championship trailing in three different series. Trailing two games to one heading into game four in Indiana without Chris Bosh the Heat had to win. James responded with a historical performance not seen since 1961 by Elgin Baylor. In the Heat 101-93 win in which they trailed by 15 early Lebron scored 40 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and had 9 assists. The Heat would go on to win that series in six games. In the Eastern Conference Finals after being up 2-0 the Heat lost three in a row and were heading to Boston with their season on the line. The Heat destroyed the Celtics 98-79 as Lebron scored 30 points in the first half finishing with 45 points on 19-26(73.2%) shooting with 15 rebounds and five assists. In game seven after trailing early James once again came up big scoring 31 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. In game two of the finals with his team needing a win James scored 32 points and iced the game at the free throw line making all 12 attempts. Then in game four he was cramping and had to leave the game. He did return however to hit the go ahead three pointer giving him 26 points, 9 rebounds and 12 assists which hadn't been seen since Larry Bird in 1986. Then today Lebron finishes up his great playoffs with a triple double scoring 26 points, dishing out 13 assists and grabbing 11 rebounds. Not many powerforwards dish out 13 assists just like no many guards average nearly 10 rebounds. James can play any position on the court which he has done this entire playoffs. He had one of the all-time great playoffs by an individual anyone has ever seen.

Call James whatever you want but a "choke artist," "not-clutch," "ringless," and "disappears in the fourth" can no longer be used. In proving the critics wrong he also proved them right as well. He needed to change as a player and as a person why he has low post moves, why he isn't afraid to take over down the stretch, why he plays defense now which he didn't prior to the 2008 Olympics(he noticed how hard Kobe Bryant was going at it and it clicked to him and Wade). James is more humble now as his celebration after beating Boston in round two back in 2011 was more so than when he actually won the title. In the 1980's you had Bird-Magic, in the 1990's you had Jordan, in the 2000's you had Shaq, Duncan and Kobe. In the 10's you'll have Lebron-Durant. James won the first of many battles between these two in the finals. Durant will have his time someday but for now there is only one king and his name is Lebron James.

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