- 06/25/2012, 12:22PM ET
Jobo1045 said 06/25, 12:22 PM
I'll keep my opening argument short:
Lebron was the best player in the series and deserved the MVP. Hoever, the play the Heat got out of Chalmers, Cole, and Miller on offense and Battier on both sides of the ball was more important to their winning than the level of Lebron's play in the NBA Finals.
eXistenZ said 06/25, 01:56 PM
I agree that role players are part of the keys to winning a game. But LeBron James (or even a healthy Dwade) created the opportunities for Miller, Battier, Chalmers and Cole to have a clearer look at the basket. A player like James draws the double teams once he is in the post or when he decides to drive to the rim. That simply leaves someone open on the perimeter for an open jump shot.
Let???s say you put Udonis Haslem at the post, I don???t think you???ll get a double team on him much like you would get if it was James. That nullifies the spacing that Miller needs to get open for a jump shot. How about if you ran the offense through Battier first and he drove to the basket. Does Battier draw 2 defenders with him allowing Coles to get wide open for a 3 pointer? It???s difficult to see that happening.
History has shown that an All-Star like James, creates more opportunities for role players to succeed. The Bulls John Paxson would never have gotten an NBA Finals game winning shot if Michael Jordan didn???t draw the attention that teams placed on him. Steve Kerr was able to make key perimeter shots with Tim Duncan drawing double coverage down in the post.
Jobo1045 said 06/25, 05:06 PM
Everything you said is true. Lebron created opportunities. And in this series, with the exception of Game 3, the role players capitalized on opportunities. Lebron averaged 27/8/6 in the regular season, 30/10/6 in the postseason, and 29/10/7 in the finals.
Game 1: Battier goes 4-6 from 3, and scores 17 points, Chalmers give you 12 on 5-7 shooting, 2-4 from 3.
Game 2: Battier goes 5-7 from 3, scores 17 points
Game 4: Chalmers goes for 25, Cole hits 2 huge threes ends with 8 points.
Game 5: Battier goes for 11, Chalmers for 10, Miller for 23
Team's doubled off Lebron all season. The difference: Other players stepped up and hit shots. Granted, Lebron played one of his best all-around games in game 4, but he loses if Chalmers doesn't score 25 and get 5 3's from the PG spot.
The Thunder planned on 30/10/5 from Lebron and he delivered. Their plan was to make role players beat them, and they did. Do they do that without Lebron? No. Do the Heat beat the Thunder without Battier's 17 in game 2 or Chalmer's 25 in game 4? No.
I'm not trying to undervalue Lebron. He played excellent. But the Heat for sure don't win in 5, and I dont think they win at all without the Role Players
eXistenZ said 06/26, 02:50 AM
Your stats of Battier, Chalmers and Miller validate what LBJ has accomplished in providing those players the opportunity to do well. If James doesn't share the ball and trust his teammates, what good is scoring 43 pts and only 5 assist for a losing cause (Westbrook's stats in gm 4)? LBJ's game has evolved, and role players benefited.
James did what an All-Star has to do, and much like Magic and Jordan did, kept his teammates involved and gave them the confidence in taking the open jump shot by passing the ball to them where they want it. In gm 4, James scored 26 pts, dished out 12 assists for an additional 24 pts (this is not including 3 pointers) and gave the Heat 9 more opportunities at the offensive side.
James in the past, got blamed for not taking the ball to the hoop more often or posting up down low in crunch time. If James doesn't take the burden upon himself, how far do you think a Heat team goes in the Playoffs without Bosh for a good several games and an injured DWade doing his best "Batman" impersonation? Not very far. Or if James was the one that was injured instead of Bosh, does Miami get past the Pacers and/or the Celtics without a true Center? No.
Jobo1045 said 06/26, 09:26 AM
Lebron James was undoubtedly the reason they got to the finals. Not debating that. There's not a single player more important to the heat than Lebron. That's why my argument is for the role players as a group, not individually. My Final Arguments:
1. Battier's defense on Durant was as important as any offensive contribution. If Lebron has to guard Durant all game, I don't think he has the energy to play as well on offense and get in the flow. Battier muscled up Durant and made it difficult to catch the ball resulting in Westbrook taking some unwise shots.
2. Lebron played very consistent the entire series (no Boston Game 6's) and other than game 3 (where the THunder somehow shot 4-18 from 3) and Game 5 (blowout - which can largely be credited to Mike Miller) would not have won without a major contribution from a Role Player or group of Role Players.
Individually, no player means more to the HEat than Lebron - But Lebron alone doesn't win this series. The Big Three alone do not win this series. The Thunder win Game 2 without Battier and Game 4 without Chalmers/Cole. Lebron provided consistent excellence all playoffs long. Role players stepping up that won the series.
eXistenZ said 06/26, 12:35 PM
The NBA Basketball is played by a team of 5-on-5, you would be crazy not to rely on your teammates. James did what the great ones do best, make his teammates play better and this years Playoffs showed that the team chemistry was perfect even with the injuries to Bosh and DWade.
I agree with you in one respect, as a cohesive group the Heat won it all. The Heat turned it on on defense. Even with a smaller line up the Heat's quickness to defend was exceptional. Battier defended Durant well, but James on Durant was more key to slowing down the NBA's regular season scoring champion. Who do you think Durant would rather have on him on defense, Battier at 220 lbs or James at 250? Even more telling was what James did on the offensive side of the court.
Without James, the Heat with Bosh on the bench and DWade hobbling around don't go as far as they did, even with the best role players put together (with the exception of the 2004 Detroit Pistons). James provides a unique presence and skill sets that wasn't showcased in last years Finals, but this year he finally put it all together when it mattered the most.
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