Boston came out and won a physical confrontation of a Game 4 in Los Angeles and ended up winning the series in seven games. If LeBron wants similar results, he is going to achieve them by not taking a shot at his Heat teammates, who have vacillated between decent and non-existent thus far in the series.
“We wouldn’t be at this point without my teammates,” he said. “I have all the confidence in the world in my teammates. But I am the star, I am the leader. And they look at me to do things on the court, to make plays, and if I’m not doing it, I’m not doing my job.”
I still think much of this comes down to the Heat’s collective personality. The best player loves drama. The coach loves drama. The team president started the drama almost two decades ago when he took the job.
If Miami doesn’t have its back against the wall, if America hasn’t counted out the Heat yet, their series hasn’t started. Over the past two years, the Heat’s players have been down 2-1 in a conference semifinal, 3-2 in a conference final and tied at three games apiece this season going into Game 7 against Indiana in the East finals.
Each time, they used back-to-the-wall perseverance to survive and eventually lift a trophy or advance.
But it’s dangerous to bank on that resilience every time. Just because the Heat hasn’t lost back-to-back games this season since Jan. 8 and Jan. 10 doesn’t mean the law of averages won’t catch up with Miami.
“We’ve been able to bounce back throughout adverse times throughout the season throughout the years that we’ve been together, these three years,” LeBron said. “We’ll see.
“As dark as it was last night, can’t get no darker than that, especially for me,” he added. “So I guarantee I’ll be better tomorrow for sure.”
LeBron has twice put up games of 40-plus points with his team’s season in the balance. But these are the Spurs, unbeaten in their four previous Finals, with two home games to spare. Sure, if Parker is gimpy or hobbling, they might be in trouble.
If not? Like LeBron said, we’ll see.
For more by Mike Wise, visit washingtonpost.com/wise.