Has one ever produced so much that resonated with so few? As statistics go, LeBron James’ 17 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds, triple-double of a performance in Game 5 of the NBA Finals evoked memories of brilliance spanning from Michael Jordan to Magic Johnson.
Only, this is one of the ultra-rare instances where the numbers actually do lie. With all due respect to Scottie ’Yes I’m Trippin’ Pippen, who dared to somewhat favorably compare James to Jordan only days ago, we’re talking impact here. And, as such, James’ stat sheet domination rang totally hollow Thursday night.
Can you say just two fourth-quarter points in the series’ most pivotal game, and now none in the last five, clutch-time minutes of any of them? Now, ask yourself can you ever recall a big game where Jordan was less impactful, let alone one where he statistically dominated, then what James just labored through?
And still he can be, should be, King. Game 6 and 7, if need be, are slated for the friendly confines of South Beach, where Miami has lost only once this playoff season and has won by an average of 12 points.
“We’ve got two games left,” said James. “We’ll be better in Game 6 on Sunday. We’ve just got to push through it. At this point we honestly have no choice. We worked hard all year to get home-court advantage. So we have to take advantage of it.”
And as for his, own, personal late game shortcomings, James remains unfazed.
“The only thing that applies to me is a win,” he said. “A win or a loss; I could have made a couple more plays for my team. But at the end of the day, all it’s about is a win or a loss. Triple double means absolutely nothing in a loss. I’m not putting any more pressure on myself… but come Sunday we absolutely will be ready to go.” — Glenn Minnis