LeBron plays like LeBron as Heat roll
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — For two days, LeBron James tried to explain why he plays the way he does.
He trusts his teammate. So when he struggles offensively or defenses make it difficult for him to find his shot, he can pass to someone who can score.
That’s why James has such a comfort zone with the Miami Heat. If he can’t do it, someone else can.
Sure, it didn’t work out like that in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, but as James noted before Game 2, “I wish we could go 16-0 in the playoffs. That would be awesome. … Winning and losing is part of the game.”
That kind of perspective gets lost in the cacophony.
But in Miami’s dominating 103-84 victory over the Spurs, the evolution — the beauty — of James’ game was on full display. Even when he didn’t have it offensively, or least in the scoring column, for nearly three quarters, he continued to work in other areas.
He defended, rebounded, blocked shots, forced turnovers and involved his teammates. Through the first 32 minutes, 40 seconds, James made just 2-of-12 shots, had just six points and the Heat trailed the Spurs 62-61.
San Antonio’s goal through two games is to prevent James from being a one-man wrecking ball through its defense. Shrink the floor and keep him away from the basket. It worked in Game 1 and then the questions about James’ aggressiveness — or lack thereof — dominated the two days between games.
“That doesn’t really make sense that he wasn’t being aggressive,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You have to give credit to the competition. They’re scheming and ready and taking our normal strengths away from us, and you have to have a player and players that have a team ego to understand that next layer of offense.
“Sometimes that’s facilitating. Sometimes that’s screening. Sometimes that’s executing offense and letting somebody else make a play against a very good defense. And that’s what he showed tonight — even though a lot of people are unwarrantedly criticizing him for not being aggressive.”