Tied at 2-2 as we head into the infamously pivotal Game 5, the neutral fan seem to be right where they want to be. Both teams have experienced dizzying highs and back-breaking lows. Both teams have taken heavy jabs and devastating haymakers, trading blows in a manner that suggests that this fight could truly go the distance.
At the moment, this series epitomizes what the NBA Finals are all about, the two best teams throwing their best game plans at each other and adjusting accordingly, setting the stage for different players to shine each game. First it was Tony Parker who took the limelight in Game 1, then it was the Mario Chalmers pick and roll that got the Heat level in the series. That was followed by the Gary Neal and Danny Green show until the other night Dwyane Wade – the real Dwyane Wade – showed up.
At this point, it just seems like the two teams are finding holes in each other’s game plans for each match and whichever player is best suited to exploit that hole, in a series that features a wide range of talents, takes over.
Who will claim the headlines tonight? No one truly knows. It all depends on what tactics Erik Spoelstra and Gregg Popovich aim to impose on Game 5. The unpredictability, though, makes this series all the more better.
And if there’s anybody that personifies the spirit of the anything-can-happen Finals, it’s LeBron James. How fitting is it that the game’s headline player chooses to embody the very theme of this series. But, then again, maybe it’s not a choice. Maybe it’s just who he is.
Perhaps LeBron is neither the overrated choke artist his biggest detractors make him out to be, nor is he just misunderstood and actually clutch, like his most loyal of supporters might claim. A more accurate assertion may be that Lebron is just plain weird.
He’s the player capable of single-handily beating a veteran Pistons team at the age of 22, with a horrible supporting cast lest we forget, and yet also able play his last game in Cleveland with an unforgettably nonchalant performance. He’s the man who can battle Paul Pierce to the brink in a Game 7 and, at other times, choose to pass the buck in high pressure situations.
From the 2011 Finals fiasco, to his epic, back-against-the-wall, critic-silencing performance in Boston last year, to the poor performances from Games 1-3 of this series to the 33 points in Game 4. There has been no other player that has confused us more over the years than Lebron James.
Because of that, the definitive statements will have to cease. He’s the best player in the league, it’s true. But the labeling stops there, everything about his game, specifically when it comes to the clutch or not question, is in the air. Lebron is unpredictable. Much like this series, no one knows what to expect next, except high levels of entertainment.