Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2012 NBA Finals: Game 1 - Running Diary of LeBron James

Game 1

The most scrutinized man in the history of the league is back in the NBA Finals once again. LeBron was 0-4 in his first appearance against the San Antonio Spurs and 2-4 in his second appearance against the Dallas Mavericks. Will his third time be the charm?

There is no denying his greatness, but his numbers on the game’s biggest stage are all drastically down from the rest of his post-season and regular season production. His polarizing personality coupled with his polarizing game already makes Heat games must-see TV. Throw in Kevin Durant, the sweetheart of the NBA, along with the likes of Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, this now becomes one of the most anticipated Finals in recent memory. Let’s do this!

7:32 PM - LeBron is on the wing shooting jumpers from three point land. Durant and Westbrook look relaxed as they are chatting with each other on the bench.
7:48 PM - LeBron is on the bench meditating, while Wade is being stretched out. Durant is now on the floor practicing his free throws.
7:51 PM - Kia’s NBA Countdown team of Wilbon, Barry, Magic, and Broussard are going nuts. They are louder than the actual fans at the moment. Mic check please?
7:56 PM - Great rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Jessica Sanchez. Who knew American Idol was still relevant?
7:57 PM - The Chesapeake Energy Arena decides to play the Darth Vader theme song as the Miami Heat team is being introduced. What a call!
8:00 PM - The Thunder championship intro video is being shown on the jumbotron -- pretty weak if you ask me. But all that is moot because they are playing Kanye & Jay Z - N*ggas in Paris!
8:01 PM - ABC’s video montage is being played. Does anyone else miss those epic introductions Bob Costas used to do for NBC?
8:07 PM - We’re about to tip off! As expected, the OKC crowd is in a frenzy. Nothing against the city, but this has got to be the most exciting thing to happen to them since... ever.
8:07 PM - LeBron starts on Perkins. Battier on Durant. Tons of cross matches.
8:15 PM - Time out OKC. Durant with 8 quick points, including two 3-pointers. LeBron has had four possessions to try to draw Durant’s second foul but to no avail. Five minutes into the game, LeBron has been asked to guard Perkins, Durant, and Westbrook.
8:24 PM - Miami is shooting lights out from distance. Durant still only has one foul and just blocked Wade on one end and completed an and-1 layup on the other. The kid is special. Heat up 24-16.
8:32 PM - Miami up 29-22 at the end of the first quarter. The story so far is Miami’s three point shooting, Battier and Chalmers have already made five from beyond the arc. LeBron with 4 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists. James is only shooting 1-5 from the field.
8:39 PM - James looked very passive in the first quarter. LeBron has received the ball in the post at least five times and looked for his shot only twice. He has been orchestrating the offense and focusing more on the defensive end of the court
8:42 PM - LeBron read Durant’s eyes at half court and jumped the passing lane. He dunked it with Durant trailing closely from behind. It’s jaw dropping watching two of the most athletic and longest players in history attacking and challenging each other at the rim. LeBron taking his first breather during the dead ball.
9:03 PM - Durant with a facial on Chris Bosh coming out of the time out. Wow.
9:10 PM - Miami up 54-47 at the end of the first half. LeBron with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 steals. Obviously he was much more aggressive in the second quarter, especially after his short rest. OKC’s crowd hasn’t been much of a factor so far, their team has been playing from behind all game. LeBron is settling for his jumper too much. Both teams look like they are lacking some intensity, probably still just feeling each other out. The Thunder shot 56% in the first half but are still behind.
9:26 PM - Durant with a wide open three to start the second half. It's time to just keep LeBron on him for the remainder of the game. 

9:34 PM - Miami time out. Their lead is down to only one point. OKC has come out with noticeably more energy and are pushing the pace at every opportunity. The crowd is rocking for the first time. Who will Miami go to? This is where LeBron, being the leader of the team, has to step up. And Wade, who's been a no show thus far, has to give them something.
9:47 PM - James just crossed Durant over left to right and dunked it in Perkins's face. And 1. He's been setting that up all night -- had driven left on four different occasions for layups before that.
10:01 PM - Miami down 73-74 at the end of the third quarter. LeBron with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals. Westbrook really being aggressive. One thing nobody talks about is Durant's inability to get open which forces Westbrook to take tough shots. The OKC crowd is in full force now.
10:04 PM - LeBron is guarding Westbrook to start the quarter. Durant being watched by Battier.
10:10 PM - LeBron is in the middle of those funks where he's not attacking and just looking to dump it off. 2011 revisited. Extremely frustrating to watch.
10:16 PM - Finally! James in the post, reverse pivot spin, finish off the glass on Sefolosha. Of course, he then precedes to miss the and 1 free throw. Durant, on the other hand, is owning this 4th quarter.
10:26 PM - Miami down 85-93. Lebron with a measly 2 points in the fourth while Durant has 13. One superstar stepped up, the other didn't -- the difference of the game -- barring a major comeback.
10:31 PM - Westbrook with a jumper over Wade. Undoubtedly, he's won that matchup. Miami down 92-97. LeBron with 5 points since my call out.
10:34 PM - In my opinion, the difference maker for OKC tonight has been Nick Collison. He has played most of the second half with Perkins sitting the pine. Chalmers and Battier were on fire in the first half but were worthless in the second. LeBron needs to look for his shot more and stay aggressive. And truthfully, Wade hasn't had a good game since Game 6 in the Indiana series.
10:37 PM - With 43 seconds left in the game, Miami is down 92-101. Overall, they need to pick up the intensity in order to make this a competitive series. That burden is on LeBron's shoulders and he has to be ready to inspire his teammates in the next game.
10:39 PM - Game over. OKC leads 1-0. LeBron with 30 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals in 46 minutes. He ends up shooting 11-24 from the field, 1-3 from three, and 7-9 from the free throw stripe. A quiet 30. Nothing special. Nothing that screams, "3-time MVP." I will give LeBron all the credit when he wins but I will also blame him when he doesn't. Kevin Durant brought his team home tonight while LeBron didn't. Maybe he didn't have the energy, maybe he did. Whatever the case was, it didn't happen.
All times are Central Standard Time.
Photo content courtesy of: Getty Images

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Perkins played too much in the 1st half. LeBron settling for jumpers that he could get anytime, anywhere. Thabo and Collison need more minutes.

Vader theme is GOAT. Too much D-fade in the 4th. Went away from LeBron in the post which worked so well in ECF. But give credit to the other batman/robin. Westbrook is basically a Rondo who's not afraid to take the shot/drive. And if he keeps up the energy, he's going to break down the Heat D in half court and transition, just like Rondo did.

I would of liked to see Norris Cole somewhere in the second half after Thunder made their run and took the lead. It's obvious Chalmers and even Wade is over-matched against Westbrook. Also, Battier playing 42mins after coming out of a 7 game series avg 38 per game in ECF. As much as I want to completely fault LeBron in this one, Spoelstra really mismanaged the game in the 2nd half when OKC decided to clamp down on hustle D.

Give the King some help Miami!

one thing no one really talks about is the fact that scotty brooks or eric spoelstra is about to become the head coach of an nba championship team...as hard as they try to avoid it at times, one of them has to win.

did you just compare westbrook to rondo???

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