LeBron James got one step closer to accomplishing something California Chrome could not. While Chrome’s loss over the weekend put an end to the Triple Crown talk, Miami’s win brought Pat Riley and the team he assembled one step closer to a three-peat.
Just as they did against the Indiana Pacers, the Miami Heat stole home court advantage in Game 2 by walking into AT&T Center and departing with a win. Unfortunately for San Antonio, the Heat are undefeated at home in this postseason.
James’ 35 points and 10 boards invigorated the Heat offense en route to a 98-96 victory, but what made it so uncharacteristic was how he scored those buckets. It wasn’t the usual mix of forays into the lane. Instead, he was crouching in a three-point stance and rising to hit a three or dribbling to the elbow where he would elevate over a defender to knock down a jumper.
In the fourth quarter, James went off on a scoring spree of 12 points in two minutes that left the Spurs defense rattled. However, in the fourth, Chris Bosh took the reins.
With 1:01 remaining in regulation, James drove left, shifting the entire defense with him and then sailed a pass to Bosh in the right corner. It was similar to the oft-criticized pass James made to Bosh in Game 5 of the Indiana series, but this time Bosh found the bottom of the net.
However, on the final offensive possession, it was Chris Bosh lowering his head and flying to the hoop before dropping a sweet bounce pass to Dwyane Wade underneath the hoop that sealed the deal. What most people (including the officials) didn’t see was James signaling for a timeout after making the pass to Bosh.
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There was just as much pressure for Bosh to make that play as James, who referred to himself as the easiest target in the NBA after Game 1.
"I think validating yourself is a constant process," Bosh said after the game. "I really let that go a long time ago. I don't care about those things. I just care about the game. I focus on the game and what we're supposed to do with it,”
“And to answer your question, I'm probably the second [easiest target in the NBA]." Bosh added.
Wade was notably quiet for much of the night, but two out of three superstars ain’t bad for Miami. Especially when the reanimated bench corpse of Rashard Lewis put up 14 points through an array of outside shooting and physical low post scoring.
However, the NBA’s two easiest targets were hitting nothing, but bull's-eyes on Sunday night. That was good enough to keep the memes at bay and push inch them closer to a three-peat.