- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Only winning it all can change perception of James
Question of the Day
This is what LeBron James envisioned last summer. Why he broke the hearts of everyone within a 100-mile radius of Cleveland, trashed his reputation and gave the nation a new punchline.
The Miami Heat aren’t in the NBA finals _ yet. But it seems almost inevitable now, what with a 3-1 lead and the Chicago Bulls looking dazed after James‘ all-around dominating performance Tuesday night.
James can apologize for the rest of his career or make more defiant commercials, and he’ll still be the player everyone outside Miami loves to hate. The only way he’ll change public opinion is by winning the NBA title, and he is playing like a man determined to do that, even if it means dragging the rest of the Heat along with him.
“It’s whatever it takes for myself and for our team,” James said.
He was talking about defense, but it applies to the rest of his game, too. He played more minutes (49:23) and scored more points (35) than anyone else on the floor in Miami’s 101-93 overtime win in Game 4. He led the Heat with six assists, grabbed six rebounds and had a pair each of steals and blocked shots.
That James is a special talent has never been in question. He’s mesmerizing on the court, able to do things that defy imagination, and was a two-time NBA MVP before his 26th birthday. Finally, NBA fans thought, here was a player worthy of those Michael Jordan comparisons.
There’s always been something, though, that’s kept James from making the league his own as Jordan did. In years past, he might have had a meltdown after being called for a late offensive foul, as he was with 8 seconds left in regulation Tuesday night. He might have faltered at taking sole responsibility when his team’s next-best offensive option was having an off night, as Dwyane Wade did against the Bulls.
But there is a toughness to James now, a superstar’s attitude he never seemed comfortable embracing in Cleveland. No one can accuse him of quitting, as he was after last year’s second-round debacle against Boston. Or wish he’d been a little more selfish, as he could have been in Cleveland’s other playoff disappointments when he insisted on passing to open teammates instead of keeping the ball in his own hands.
His 10 points in the third quarter Tuesday almost single-handedly kept the Bulls from pulling away, his one-handed slam over Luol Deng in the final seconds cutting Chicago’s lead to 65-63. He scored 13 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, seeming to be everywhere on the court.
He scored on a spin move and, on the next possession, fed Mike Miller for a 3-pointer. He took a charge to cause a Bulls turnover, which set up a jumper by Miller that gave the Heat a 70-69 lead. And though Wade finally found his groove in overtime, it was James who finished the Bulls off.
With about 90 seconds left and Miami clinging to a 91-89 lead, he scored on a driving layup, brushing Joakim Noah out of the way as if the Chicago Bulls center was a mere gnat.
Equally impressive was his smothering defense on MVP Derrick Rose.
Rose has been dismal in the fourth quarter this series, in large part because of James. Anytime he gets the ball, James is sticking a hand in his face or forcing him to change direction. Rose had a chance to win the game in regulation, but his jumper never even reached the basket after the pressure James put on him.
“It’s extremely hard when a 6-8 guy can easily defend you,” said Rose, who is listed at 6-3.
James has owned their matchup so completely it’ll be months before Rose is be able to shake the feeling somebody’s following him.
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- State Department indicates Nouri al-Maliki's days numbered as Iraq prime minister
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Hamas orders civilians to die in Israeli airstrikes
- Calif. dolls were meant to spread cheer, not chill
- Obama family set to buy $4.25M desert home in California: report
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq