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Has LeBron really been alone?
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On June 2, 2013 @ 2:55 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
The emerging narrative is both new and all-too familiar: The Miami Heat can only repeat as champions, the thinking goes, if LeBron James plays out of his mind every single night.
After the Heat got almost nothing from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Saturday’s 91-77 loss to the Indiana Pacers, this story line is only growing. But the idea that the Eastern Conference finals are tied at 3-3 because the Heat are a one-man team is unfair to both Miami and Indiana.
This year’s Heat had one of the greatest seasons in NBA history, including a 27-game winning streak and a league-best 66-16 record. They didn’t get there by playing one-on-five with LeBron. The Heat are at their best when they can attack in transition and knock down three-pointers, and the Pacers have been largely successful in stopping them from doing both of those things.
The Pacers had the best defense in the league this season. Roy Hibbert and David West keeping a team that’s normally very good in the paint away from the basket shouldn’t be surprising to anyone.
Wade and Bosh are also playing hurt. In the two games since Bosh injured his right ankle, he has 12 points on 4-for-15 shooting in 64 minutes. And Wade’s knee issues have limited his effectiveness throughout the postseason. So, no, they haven’t been good. But it’s understandable.
The Heat were also without Chris “Birdman” Andersen on Saturday, as he was serving a suspension for his shove of Tyler Hansbrough in Game 5.
James can’t win a title by himself, but he shouldn’t have to. This is not one of his Cleveland Cavaliers teams, where his teammates were no better than role players and past-their-prime veterans like Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison. This is a very deep and talented roster, and an extremely well-coached one. The “LeBron doesn’t have help” narrative does not apply. But because of a combination of injuries and Indiana’s outstanding defense, it can sure look that way.
Hibbert lashes out: After the game, Hibbert had some choice words for members of the news media when asked about his 10th-place Defensive Player of … [For more on Playoff Putbacks: Has LeBron James really been alone?, click here.]
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