By Josh Kramer
40 points. 18 rebounds. 9 assists. That was LeBron James stat line on Sunday. Recognition was given for a good 24 hour period. Come Game 5 (tonight), the remarkable performance will be a mere memory. People are still far from satisfied with the King. In taking his talents to Miami back on July 8, 2010, James chose a different life. A life where the criticism never ends. Where the expectations grow at an infinite rate. A life where the word “satisfaction” does not exist. And of course a life where returning home is more of a chore than a celebration.
You all are quite familiar with the story. Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7. It is a quote on the same level of the classic Allen Iverson “We talking about practice” rant of ten years ago. This season, LBJ put up arguably the greatest season of his already amazing career, helping him earn his third MVP Award in the past four years. The amazing thing is nobody seems to care. All anyone cares about are his missed free throws at the end of Game 2 against the Pacers. Or the fact that he dished the ball to superstar teammate Dwyane Wade for the final shot in Game 2.
Watching LeBron play this season and during the early going of the playoffs has been a treat. The guy is doing once in a lifetime type of things on both ends of the floor. Sadly, the expectations are so high on the King, if he does not bring home a ring, it will all be nothing. His remarkable 2011/2012 season will be thought of as a failure. Will the Heat cut down the nets? I am honestly not sure. A lot hinges on when Bosh comes back and if he is at 100%. Haslem did his best impersonation of the injured Chris Bosh on Sunday. When push comes to shove though, Haslem is not nearly the caliber of player that Chris Bosh is. Plus, OKC or San Antonio would be stiff competition if Miami were fortunate enough to get by Indiana and then the winner of the Boston/Philadelphia series.
I am by no means a LeBron James fan (I am not a hater either). I never have been. But I am a fan of the game of basketball. The way James fills up the stat sheet on a nightly basis deserves some praise. What he did on Sunday was truly remarkable. Sadly, if the Heat lose Game 5, it will all be forgotten. Despite many saying Dwyane Wade is the leader of the Miami Heat, it is LeBron James who carries the team and the city on his shoulders. It is LeBron James who took the brunt of the criticism when Miami came up empty-handed in 2011. And it will be LeBron James who shoulders the majority of the criticism no matter how well he plays if the Heat do not capture a ring in June. I guess that is the life of a King. Things are great when you are winning. Things are horrible when you are losing. The life of a King is bittersweet.
Mental edge no more
It is common knowledge for even the most casual of tennis fans that Rafael Nadal is the “King of Clay.” Well yesterday, he reaffirmed that fact with authority, in capturing the Rome Masters title. In doing so, he also got the monkey off his back and defeated world number one Novak Djokovic in the finals of a major tournament. After losing to Djokovic in seven straight finals, this win was huge for Rafa heading into his marquee event, the French Open. If these two greats are to meet in the finals at Roland Garros, Novak Djokovic will no longer have the mental edge over Nadal.
Sweep not necessarily a good thing?
Since the NBA expanded first round series to the best of seven format back in 02/03, only three teams have swept their way through the first two rounds. Those teams would be the 04/05 Heat, 08/09 Cavaliers, and 09/10 Magic. Want to know something all three of these teams have in common? They all lost their next series. San Antonio became the fourth team since the format change to sweep their way through rounds one and two. And though they are playing fantastic basketball, having won 18 straight games, I would not be surprised to see the Spurs continue this dubious streak. OKC is that good.
It appears Stan “The Man” was no longer part of the plan in Orlando. I guess Superman (Dwight Howard) is getting the last laugh for now. The town was not big enough for Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy. Star player won this battle. Van Gundy posted a 259-135 record during his five seasons in Orlando, including three division titles and one NBA Finals appearance. Those numbers seem pretty good to me. Sometimes life isn’t fair. Sorry Stan.
Thank you may I have another
Stud race horse I’ll Have Another is on the verge of history. No horse has been able to capture the mythical Triple Crown since 1978. To put things into a clearer perspective, four other horses since 2002 have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown. All four of these horses failed to make history at the Belmont Stakes. Come June 9th, the three-year-old thoroughbread, I’ll Have Another, will have his shot to make history. I’ll Have Another would love nothing more than another victory.
The Kings are still King
So the Los Angeles Kings failed to deliver the knockout blow on Sunday against the Phoenix Coyotes. Big deal. Every dog has its day. Led by Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Jonathan Quick, the Kings are looking to secure LA its first Stanley Cup victory. Have no fear, the Kings will at least represent the West in the Finals. The Kings, despite their less than stellar 8th seed are the “King” of the West. Now will they be the “King” of the NHL? That remains to be seen.
Just some “Food for Thought.”
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