The Lakers took care of business in Game 1 of the Finals, and people started talking about a sweep. Miami had horrible injury news, Anthony Davis dominated, and everything seems set up for an easy road to the title. LeBron is having none of that.
If there’s someone who’s been on both sides of major playoff upsets, it’s LeBron James. Coming back from 3-1 with Cleveland is the pinnacle of his professional career, but it didn’t wash out the bitterness of losing to the Mavericks in 2011. That was one of the lowest points in LeBron’s career, and LeBron can pinpoint the exact moment things started to crumble.
“I’ve experienced Finals games where you have all the momentum in the world, felt like we had the game under control, and one play here, one play there can change the course of the series. In particular, it is Game 2 of the 2011 Finals. D-Wade hits a three, right by their bench. I believe put us up 13 or 17. From that moment on, Dallas went on a hell of a run and finished it off with a Dirk Nowitzki left-hand layup to steal that game. That shit burns me to this day.”LeBron James
This wasn’t just a Finals loss. It was the first year of the Big Three in Miami, and everyone hated LeBron after The Decision. They were the mercenary team going against a complete opposite – Dirk, who stayed loyal to the Mavericks till the end.
Add to that the fact the Mavericks prepared a perfect game plan for LeBron. There were times when JJ Barea was on LeBron, and he couldn’t figure it out. The pressure off the court, the situation on the court; everything came crumbling down for LeBron. But in the third quarter of Game 2, it seemed the Heat would sweep the Mavericks.
That’s why there’s no way LeBron lets the Lakers drop their guard down for a moment. You could see it tonight, there were several occasions where the Lakers blew a defensive coverage, and despite the fact they were in a comfortable lead, the censors had their work cut out beeping LeBron cussing out his teammates.
According to Game 1, Anthony Davis is the heads on favorite to win Finals MVP if we are to project. He’s the worst matchup for the Heat, particularly if Adebayo is out or limited. But LeBron’s experience will be crucial to make sure the Lakers don’t drop their guard.