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LeBron James having one of the best NBA postseason performances ever in 2011 NBA Playoffs: Fan’s look
The Miami Heat's LeBron James(notes) is having one of the most impressive playoff performances in the history of the NBA; especially in the 2011 NBA Eastern Conference showdown with the Chicago Bulls, where he's gone bonkers on both ends of the floor; culminating in the "Three Kings" and the franchise from South Beach taking a commanding 3-1 series lead with their scintillating 101-93 overtime victory at AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday, May 24.
Dirk Nowitzki(notes) is showing he's an amazing talent, second in scoring during the 2011 NBA Playoffs only to Kevin Durant's(notes) 29.0 points per game with an average of 28.6 that includes two games in the 2011 NBA Western Conference Finals where he's scored 40 points or better while shooting 60 percent or better from the field; probably the most impressive and important of the two being the 40 points he laid on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Dallas Mavericks 112-105 comeback overtime victory.
Yet, as impressive as Nowitzki's offensive prowess has been, and it has been incredible (garnering him comparisons, at least in terms of his performance in these playoffs, with Larry Bird by numerous talking heads in the media), Dirk hasn't been one-tenth as effective as LeBron on the defensive side of the court.
What James is doing is akin to almost nothing I've ever witnessed in my 40+ years of watching professional basketball. While he lit up the Bulls for 35 points on 11-of-26 from the floor and a perfect 13-of-13 from the charity stripe to go along with six rebounds and six assists (notching his 17th career 35-5-5 postseason game; extending his record lead over Michael Jordan's 15 and Kobe Bryant's(notes) 13), it was his defense that was most evident on the night, as he almost single-handedly kept Derrick Rose(notes) in check.
While ESPN seems intent on claiming Rose's meaningless dunk over Joel Anthony(notes) was the best of their "Top Ten" Plays of the Night, the most significant and telling play of the game other than Dwyane Wade's(notes) final swat of Derrick's driving attempt at the basket to seal the victory for the Heat was LeBron chasing down Rose to emphatically slam his layup attempt into the cameramen sitting courtside.
That play was relegated to No. 4 on ESPN's list, when in fact it should have been the clear No. 1 on the list.
Yet, this is just more of what Miami fans have come to expect from the media all season long. A dunk that wasn't even all that impressive, made by a member of the losing team as they were all-but eliminated from the 2011 NBA postseason is highlighted as if it won the game for Chicago, while a fierce block of that self-same Rose that was truly indicative of what Game 4 pretty much came down to—the Heat dominating the Bulls with their defense—is pretty much ignored.
There are plenty in the media who still aren't willing to give LeBron his due. They're still bent on trying to push the storyline Rose was and is a worthy MVP, when all the evidence from this postseason shows he's one of, if not the worst recipient of the award in its history.
A great deal of that hatred of James and fascination with Rose is supposedly due to LeBron's "Decision." This and a number of other equally lame reasons are given for the animosity many hold for him. However, those who have issues with James only reveal the lack of their own character rather than his.
LeBron has been nothing but a humble and gracious player throughout the season, and those who criticize him at every turn know this even if they willingly choose to ignore it at times. He gives his opponents respect, both before and after games, and has yet to make comments once that I've heard disparaging other players as many'"such as Paul Pierce'"have(notes) done to him.
James was even diplomatic and polite in claiming Rose merited the MVP he was awarded this year, when I would wager he was seething inside wanting to scream, "MVP? Are you kidding me? Rose couldn't carry my shoes."
Yet, LeBron will have the last laugh. He has a team now that's capable of backing him up in his quest for a title, and he won't let anything, or anyone, including Nowitzki, stand in the way of that prize; even if he has to shut him down himself in the 2011 NBA Finals.
Think he can't? Just watch and see.
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All stats and information taken from personal notes and verified at Basketball-Reference.com and Yahoo! Sports.
Read more by Daniel Barber aka Hotnuke at TFS Sports.
*Daniel Barber has been a fan of all Miami teams since he was a child or since their inception having been born right above Miami.
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