- HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors - http://www.hoopsworld.com -
LeBron ’50 times better’ than in 2007 Finals
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On June 4, 2013 @ 8:07 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — As he gets ready to lead his team to the NBA Finals for a third consecutive year and fourth time overall, LeBron James is expected to succeed, to win championships, to continue to cement his place in league history.
James continues to add elements to his game and when the San Antonio Spurs see him with the Miami Heat in this series, he’ll have a refined low-post game, an always-improving jump shot, near-impeccable shot selection and a big-game aura typical of the league’s best player.
“We all know what his skills are. He’s a great passer, he can rebound, he can defend,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters earlier this season. “But I think, if anything, he is maturing mentally in the sense that he is enjoying playing the game. He doesn’t listen to talking heads anymore — or a lot less than when he first came in the league.”
Popovich and the Spurs are partially responsible for this. In 2007, they swept James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals. It was James’ first time on the big stage, before he had won any of his four MVPs. It was the Spurs’ fourth championship in nine seasons, the last title the Spurs have won.
Moments after that series ended, James proclaimed, “I have to be 10 times better.”
Fast forward to Monday, when the Heat beat the Indiana Pacers to win the Eastern Conference finals. James was asked to compare himself to that 2007 version: “I’m 20, 40, 50 times better than I was in the ’07 Finals,” he said.
The Spurs taught him a lesson. The prepared him for how hard it is to win a championship. They used Bruce Bowen to make scoring difficult for James, goading him into taking jump shots. As a result, James averaged 22 points on 35.6% shooting from the field and 20.0% on three-pointers in four games.
“My Cleveland team, we were very young,” James said. “We went up against a very experienced team, well-coached team, and they took advantage of everything that we did.”
James made 24-for-36 shots inside the restricted area at the basket against the … [For more on LeBron James '50 times better' than in 2007 NBA Finals, click here.]
Article printed from HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors: http://www.hoopsworld.com
URL to article: http://www.hoopsworld.com/lebron-50-times-better-than-in-2007-finals
Copyright © 2013 HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors
Part of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group.