Carrying Heat reminds LeBron of Cavs
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — LeBron James broached the topic without being asked directly.
But it had been on the minds of anyone watching the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers play in the Eastern Conference finals.
James’ one-man performance-art show recalled memories of his days with the Cleveland Cavaliers, when James often had to do so much in order to win playoff games because he was not surrounded with enough talent.
“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,” James said after scorching the Pacers for 30 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block in Miami’s 90-79 Game 5 victory Thursday.
With forward Chris Bosh and guard Dwyane Wade struggling offensively for two main reasons — Indiana’s defense and injuries — James is proving he can carry Miami with limited help from the other two-thirds of the Big 3.
He delivered a sublime third-quarter effort — accounting for 25 of Miami’s 30 points in the quarter with 16 points and four assists. He snatched four rebounds, too.
Now, the Heat lead the Pacers 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, and Game 6 is Saturday in Indianapolis (8:30 p.m. ET, TNT). As good as Indiana has been, it faces a discouraging proposition: win consecutive games against a team that hasn’t lost two in a row since January.
When James wanted the ball, he got it.
When Miami needed points, he got them.
“Just try to figure out a way that I can, I don’t know, just see if the guys would just follow me, and just lead them the best way I could,” James said. “I was just in attack mode in the third quarter, look for my shot. And luckily I was able to make some.
“I just saw how we were playing in the first half. … We were in wait mode in the first half instead of going and getting it — just waiting for things to happen. I took it upon myself to stop waiting and just go. Just try … [For more on LeBron James: Carrying Heat reminds me of Cavaliers, click here.]