Saturday, November 08, 2008

Cavalierly Amazing

Went to see the Bulls play Lebron James tonight. And lose. Sure, officially the ticket said Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, but not only was Lebron the reason for my attendance, but as far as I could tell, the Cavs have no other players. It's basically Lebron and a bunch of nobodies. Of the top 4 scorers in the game, 3 were Bulls, who actually played pretty well and held the lead at halftime and going into the 4th quarter. But Lebron led a 15-0 Cavs run to open the 4th and just as the Bulls were again making it close late, James--still not a great outside shooter--casually drained two three-pointers to lock it up for the Cavs.

Now, it's easy to make comparisons between James and Michael Jordan based on how spectacular Lebron is, but where I saw the comparisons tonight was in how unspectacular he was.

Sure, he had some spectacular moves and a couple of dunks, but without doing all that much particularly mindblowing for much of the game, he just wound up with 41 points and 13 points and again, without much help from his teammates, did what was needed to ensure his team won. Like drop two straight 3's in crunch time.

What is mind-blowing is that Lebron James is still only 23 years old. And he's seemingly developing the 'let the game come to you' poise and almost casual brilliance that defined MJ in the later stages of his career, when he was leading the Bulls to 6 championships. If only he had some players around him.

As for the Bulls #1 pick Derrick Rose, he looked good, but like Bulls top scorer Ben Gordon, his relative lack of height may keep him from being a true go-to guy in crunch time, like MJ, Kobe, Lebron and other greats. And until the Bulls know who will be "the guy" when the game's on the line, and that guy can come through with regularity, they're not going to do much. Put Rose and Lebron together, now then you'd have something.

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