I'm pretty much agree completely with the above, and too add to it - if you want to pin this on LeBron, I suppose that is your prerogative, however, look at this stats for this series:
27.5 PPG 7.3 RPG 3.8 APG 2.5 SPG 2.8 3PG (no blocks) on 60%/61%/75% FG/3PT/FT
Again, too me, it's more about the Spurs just absolutely wearing out the Heat on offense, draining their energy via ball/player movement, then Heat collectively looked dazed on offense. Also, what more do you really want LeBron to do - those stats are pretty damn good, especially the shooting %'s. Even if he were a bit more aggressive, do you really think him averaging, say, 35 PPG would really make a difference? Assists are down a bit, but that's more of a by product of missed shots by some of the role players. To sum this up - this is way more about the Spurs just putting on a clinic for how to play basketball than the Heat losing because LeBron isn't rising to the challenge - well, at least that's my opinion.
I think from a macro level, you're right. Lebron's shooting efficiency is probably surprising even him. I would venture to say that if you take a more discerning look at his games and specifically the last two home games, folks want a little more consistency out of Lebron though. He's had two monster quarters out of the last 8 and then just disappears for most of the game. It's odd but he's just another dude out there for long stretches of the game and typically when the game is being decided. Where is he?
He scored 14 points in the first quarter of game 3 but had only 6 points for the last 31.5 minutes of the game. When they were making their comeback in the 3rd quarter, Lebron had one solitary bucket and 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 turnovers. This is when the Heat were making their move. He did get some rest but the Heat were positive 3 points in the 3rd quarter with Lebron out. As soon as he came back, the Spurs blew the doors off the Heat. He came back in down 10 and the Heat got no closer and by 5 minutes in left in the 4th the lead had ballooned to 18.
In game 4, he had the studly quarter 3 where he scores 19 points. He also hit a bail out, lucky 3 at the end of the first half. So beyond 12 minutes and 11 seconds of the game (basically the 3rd quarter), he had 6 points for the rest of the 36 minutes. But, this game was really settled in the first half as the Heat could get no closer than 13 points in the 2nd half and that lasted all of 20 seconds. Within 2 minutes it was back up to 20. So when this game was being decided in the first half (-11 seconds), Lebron had 6 points. 6! I give him respect that he tried to make a run but it was insignificant. Being great isn't just about getting points, it's often about when you get your points and Lebron simply isn't being impactful when the Spurs are going on their prolonged runs. He was just a dude for 80% of these two games. He's -44 for these two games combined. That's the worst +/- of anyone on the team, even worse then Wade! He has 10 turnovers and 9 assists in those two games. At home!
Now, I'm certainly not placing all the accountability on Lebron. As I stated before the series, Wade is a player in steep declination. He's still a gifted scorer at times and I wouldn't surprised if he puts up a huge game 5 scoring, but he's done as an elite all around player. He doesn't rebound. He doesn't make plays for anyone else anymore and he's a horrific defender now. I talked about this going into the series, but he's a crash test dummy out there on defense. He can't guard anyone. The Spurs look at whoever he's guarding and go right at him. Diaw takes him on the block. Kawhi drives by him off the dribble, so does Manu and Parker. He still has good hands so he'll swipe down on the ball on a shooter and get some steals, but otherwise he's a flopper because he can't stay in front of anyone. It's terrible.
Spolestra still hasn't figured out that Bosh should be getting the 2nd most touches and shots on the team. Now Bosh is hanging out too much on the arc but Bosh has a TS% as good as Lebron's. He has 15 shots in the last two games and only 16% USG in the Finals. What? Bosh should be getting 15 shots a game and should be the 2nd option but they continue to try and push Wade to play make. Now I understand that to some level b/c Lebron is being guarded by Kawhi and can't initiate everything, but Wade can no longer be trusted to be a #2 consistently. They have to get Bosh more involved. Otherwise, they aren't as deep anymore and their defense isn't nearly as good but a lot of that is Wade's declination on that end. Paramount is the Spurs are just playing better on both ends of the floor.
Now, it's not over. Like last year, they're a TP hamstring injury away from perhaps getting back into this one, but they're going to need Lebron to be more consistent in his influence on the game, they need Bosh to get 15 shots (or more) and more PNR's with Lebron and ISO's rather than Wade. Additionally, They need someone beyond Ray Allen on the bench to come alive. They've tried playing their no PG lineup on the floor (Birdman/Lewis, Bosh, Lebron, Wade, and Allen) a lot. They don't like to go two bigs b/c they feel they aren't quick enough in their rotations against SA and their shooters. But going small plays into the Spurs hands. The Spurs are simply better then the Heat are at small ball.
The Heat need to slow the pace down. It's time for Hail Mary's and they may want to go big and really slow down the pace and for lack of a better word, Pacer up the game. Make it physical, ugly, and slow. Try and make it a final 2 minute game by playing in the 80's or 90's by rebounding better with a bigger lineup and then hope Lebron can carry them down the stretch. Not sure they can traverse such a radical change of strategy this deep in the playoffs, but they do have an extra day of prep and going big may be their last hope......
I certainly think the Heat will play their best game on Sunday.
Holy ish man. I like the essay.