Who was going to step up and help the Lakers win? That was one of the questions that everyone was asking after the loss in game 3. LeBron James has proven that he can get any team, no matter how bad they are, to the NBA Finals, But he cannot do it all on his own, James is asked to do too much on both ends of the floor all game, in the fourth quarter he tends to run out of gas. We saw it late in the fourth quarter last night. LeBron was tired, he did not have the energy anymore to drive into the paint and he was settling for these practically half court three-point shots, Miami is going to give those to LBJ all day because he is going to miss the majority of those long shots.
The Lakers needed someone to step up and make some buckets because Miami refused to go away. With the incredible shooting of Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson the Heat were within one point. The Lakers looked stagnant on offense in the most critical moments of the game, who was going to save the Lakers? Kentavious Caldwell-Pope answered the call, the young man from Thomaston, Georgia had the two biggest shots so far in the NBA Finals for the Lakers. Late in the fourth quarter Pope hit back to back baskets for the Lakers one was a baseline three pointer followed by an incredible drive with a George Gervin finger role off the backboard to help fight off the Heat.
The reporters interviewed LeBron James after the game of course, but Kentavious was the true player of the game. Yes, LBJ had another incredible game and the Lakers would not have been close without his tremendous overall play, but the Lakers would have lost that game if it were not for the two huge baskets by Kentavious. LeBron and Anthony Davis had disappeared on the offensive end. Which is the reason why people knock LeBron when he is compared to Michael Jordan, I cannot remember a game where Jordan disappeared on the offensive side of the court, but LBJ has in several critical crunch time games. The last big game LeBron ran out of gas was when the Cavs played the unstoppable Golden State Warriors, LBJ had disappeared and the Cavs were going to lose if it were not for that bigtime clutch three by Kyrie Irving.
Even though I can not stand Kyrie Irving (He’s a diva, bad teammate, injury prone, he’s never played an entire season since college at Duke, he broke up the Beatles. The Nets made a huge mistake Kyrie will never play in another Finals.) Kyrie and the Cavs would not have even made the playoffs if LeBron had not been on that Cleveland team, very similar to this Lakers team. What I’m trying to say is that LeBron needed some help in critical moments because his jump shot is “wishy-washy”, and he got it that night from Kyrie and he got the help he needed last night from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He’s going to remember that finger role for the rest of his life, I know I will, what an incredible balance of power, control and finesse right at the end to have that lite touch off the backboard.
Spotlight on Rajon Rondo, who had only two points but they were huge and proof that you can still have an incredibly positive impact on a basketball game and it not show up on the stat sheet. His defense was great all game and he tipped several loose jump balls to his teammates, he deserves 1/2 a rebound for all of those. Shout-Out to Danny Green who had a horrible game 3, but he played much better and finished with 10 points last night. Anthony Davis, what can I say, he is the best defending big man I have seen since Dikembe Mutombo. AD had an incredible game defensively, one of the best I have ever seen against these feisty Miami Leprechauns, how come he wasn’t playing defense like this against Denver?
God willing the Lakers close this series out in Game 5. Win it for Kobe and Gigi!