Its a simple question, full government name and all, that I’d love to ask him. Looking past what’s going on with him and the basketball court. Looking past what’s going on with him and The Swoosh. Looking past even the headband, the hairline, and the haters.
How are you doing, brother?
Being at peace can be a beautiful thing, and I wonder if LeBron could ever get there. Maybe he is there, who knows. Its just something I’m curious about. Anyway, here are the five things that LeBron must do versus the Boston Celtics, as the NBA Finals are where the true judging of LeBron can only really occur.
1. LeBron Must Rebound Like His Life Depended On It: Let me throw a couple of statistical measures at you briefly before we continue.
In the Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. the Indiana Pacers, LeBron averaged 10.8 rebounds/game versus a frontline that featured Roy Hibbert and David West.
In the 2011-12 regular season, the Boston Celtics were the worst rebounding team in the NBA. Boston averaged just 38.8 rebounds/game and finished third worst with a rebounding differential of -4.4.
I make those two points for a simple reason. Chris Bosh’s availability in this series is highly questionable. LeBron’s presence down low has been a major factor in Miami’s success thus far. Will Miami be better with Bosh? Of course. Can LeBron do the job in Bosh’s stead against the grizzly warriors known as the Celtics? Owning the boards would be a nice start.
2. LeBron Must Play The Stephen A. Smith Parody SNL Skit On Repeat In The Locker Room: Because somehow Mario Chalmers has now become a household name, and that I have a feeling this would keep things loose in a locker room that borders on being one part a stress factory and another a fashion show. Regardless, hearing Jay Pharoah yell “LeBRONNNNN” in Stephen A.’s classic cadence would keep things light and easy for a team full of pressure on their shoulders.
3. LeBron Must Stay Near The Rim: This overlaps a bit into LeBron’s ability to rebound, but there are two additional things to consider with LeBron’s role in this series. One, LeBron’s ability to score versus a variety of matchups that will include: Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass, Marquis Daniels, and possibly Kevin Garnett, will be key. Getting quality looks 15 feet and in will get LeBron better shots, draw fouls and open up perimeter for the Heat shooters. Second, with LeBron essentially playing the power forward right now, any additional help LeBron can provide on the weakside defending the rim will be a plus. Boston is already an extremely perimeter-oriented squad, but keeping those drives to a minimum can help keep the Celtics shooting jumpers all series.
4. LeBron Must Bring Back The Dancing To Infuriate Boston: After watching Philly-Boston and Indy-Miami beat up on each other for a combined 13 games, I have a feeling that the referees will try to call this series tight. This could go a variety of ways for both teams, but I feel like if LeBron starts going “dumb” on the sidelines like he did years ago then it could encite a few elbows from Gang Green. Elbows = Technicals. Okay, this might not be the smartest thing in the world, but I’ll be damned if this wasn’t entertaining to watch.
5. LeBron Must Stand Up To Boston’s Biggest Bully: Lets be clear about this right now. As much as I love Kevin Garnett, he’s not the biggest bully on the Celtics. That distinction is for Rajon Rondo. Yes, the diminutive, wiry and irritable pest that is an assist machine for Boston. When Boston has faced off against LeBron in recent years, Doc Rivers has taken to putting Rondo on LeBron. LeBron, devoid of a post game in recent years, was flummoxed by this and struggled to overcome a player who could stay in front of him at ease.
I don’t think Boston is in a position to put Rondo on LeBron in this series, but LeBron’s ability to facilitate at a pace close to Rondo’s will be key. Boston feeds off of Rondo’s ability to fast break, but LeBron is a one-man fast break for a reason. Negate Rondo, and Miami will be in the NBA Finals.