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Smack / May 19, 2011 / 1:29 am

LeBron. Clutch.

LeBron James

LeBron James (photo. Mannion)

This is LeBron‘s personal retribution tour. Whenever we think we have him figured out, have the Heat pinned down to finally wilt and fall apart against better “teams,” the NBA’s Most Hated steps up. He closed out Boston, ended any chance their reign had of surviving. And late last night, with Chicago pushing hard for what could’ve been a commanding 2-0 lead, LeBron hit a three, then hit one tough pull-up J after another. In the last four-and-a-half minutes, the score was ‘Bron: 9 and the Bulls: 2. It wasn’t exactly Dirk-like (or as Kenny Smith would say, the German Shepherd…terrible by the way), but it got the job done in a way that people don’t expect from the King. Before Game 1, James mentioned this series won’t be for everyone. If you’re a casual basketball fan, he said — if you like scoring — you might want to stay focused on the finals out West (see Nowitzki, Dirk and Durant, Kevin), and after the Heat pulled out a gritty, backyard brawl over the Bulls, 85-75, it looks like LBJ might’ve been right. Three full days after Chicago gave the Heatles a South Side-style beatdown, Miami gave them a taste of their own bloody chin — matching the defensive intensity and reckless abandon on the boards that Chicago brought in chapter one of what’s going to be an epic series. That intensity surprised us; in the first quarter, Chicago went up seven (Luol Deng made a 60-foot shot), and it felt like deja vu. Another offensive rebound? We felt like we said that at least a half dozen times in the first frame. Early on, the Heat could’ve wheeled in Michael Jordan‘s statue from outside and it would’ve rebounded better. It would’ve fit in nicely with the three or four statues they already have sitting on the bench … There were a few points in the first half where we were convinced Mario Chalmers had no clue where he was or what he was doing … We can’t forget how the Big Two bounced back from a combined 33 points on Sunday. It didn’t look easy but Dwyane Wade (24 points, nine rebounds) and LeBron (29 points, 10 rebounds) picked their spots and found oppprtunities to efficiently score. For LeBron, he dropped his despite Deng’s defense and ill bird-of-prey wingspan. At times early, Bron-Bron almost refused to participate offensively. Chris Bosh would come to set a screen or the whole team would clear out for an iso and LeBron would just send it back out. Not. Interested. We started wondering if this is why he REALLY came to Miami, to not have to work against the great perimeter defenders. But we were wrong. Dude closed it out like your parents’ door during adult time … Big shout out to Udonis Haslem (13 points, five rebounds). Whether he was stuffing Chicago’s early Thanksgiving turkey or knocking down 15-foot J’s, his energy, his sweet rows and his 23 minutes brought a street swag back to Miami. Even though LeBron was a monster late, it was Haslem who might’ve won it for the Heat in the third quarter. For a while, he was their only offense, coming out of nowhere for two huge dunks and a couple of jumpers. He helped offset the rebounding difference (Miami was plus-four in this one). There’s no question that if they make a Haslem biopic that Michael K. Williams (Omar from “The Wire”) will play the version of Haslem we know today. But who’s gonna play the chubby college Udonis? Early favorite is the fat kid from “Old School.” Or if it has to be a young guy with more athleticism, cast any random D-lineman from Florida State, Florida, or The U … Chicago scored 26 in the first quarter, and then followed that up with 29 points in the second half…should’ve been 27 but the refs got sucked into Taj Gibson‘s flight plan on one play and allowed the dude to straight up hang on the rim while the ball was bouncing around up there. We have to give a shout-out to Erik Spoelstra (and his perfectly coiffed hair) for his strategy to send traps towards Derrick Rose (21 points, eight assists) in the half-court. Spoelstra knows D-Rose is gonna get 20+ in a coma, but by sending both defenders towards him in pick-n-roll situations, it gets the ball out of his hands as much as possible. It sends the roll man (usually Joakim Noah) out to the foul line to take that pass and play point forward. And when Noah is out at the foul line, he’s not doing his French caveman routine on the offensive glass … Who caught Noah giving the Worm some love last night? On one hand, it’s really cool that Noah respects that dude. But if we’re the Bulls, we are a little nervous. Noah already has that long hair to begin with … We’re out like Oprah.

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  • bdownunder

    good grind it out win for the heat.

    d-rose made some poor shot decisions, rushed 3’s due to heat’s D. good adjustments. looking to be a great series as long as chicago can get one back in miami – which i’m hoping we can.

    we had some chances in the 4th but couldn’t capitalize.

    gotta give credit where its due.

    thibs – you’re up next

  • Me

    “and his perfectly quaffed hair”

    it’s “COIFFED”.

    you’re welcome.

  • beiber newz

    !!!!!!!!!!hm. anyone noticed the title of this article ??

    kinda funny…subconsciously the mind is not ready to fully put lebron and clutch in the same sentence.

  • pipdaddyy

    Nice to see Haslem back, I thought something might be wrong again after not playing in the Boston series despite saying he would…

    Good matchups in both finals, its fun to watch the NBA right now. Now OKC, go get that homecourt advantage to make it interesting!

  • http://kilikilishot.blogspot.com Mandirigma

    Whoever wins the East, wins the ‘chip. Why? It’s called “DEFENSE.”

    And yeah, the Mavs are “playing” some D, but adding 1 center doesn’t transform the entire team to a lockdown squad overnight.

    Wade and James were efficient. Rose was paying tribute to AI.

  • stefan

    “my parents’ door during adult time”….. really dime? do you have to make fun of your psychologically hurt readers? why would you remind me of the times my parents leaved the door open.. WHYYYYYYYYYYY

  • Ian

    Wtf is “leaved”.

    Dime you guys need a mobile site.

  • alf (from melmak)

    I failed to watch the game, so no comment on me there.

    What intrigued me is the statement made by Charles Barkley that he has played with gay teammates in the past.

    Barkley said: “First of all, every player has played with gay guys.” He added that any player who says he hasn’t is a stone-freakin’ idiot.

    Let me see. If my memory is correct, Sir Charles played for the Sixers, Suns, and Rockets.

    Nothing against gay people because I have tons of respect for them. But guys, who do you think are the prime suspects here?

  • braindead

    ‘closed it out like your parents door during adult time.’ another reach. geez dime.

  • nizzio

    Just because LeBron scored a couple nice buckets doesn’t make him clutch! I’m sure in game 4, when Miami will be down 3, he will get the ball and FUCK UP

  • !!!

    ^
    ^
    ^
    HATER hahahahahhahahahahaha

  • LEBRON’S ADVOCATE

    Wether You’re A Fan or Not, You Have To Admit… THE CHOSEN Was CLUTCH ONCE AGAIN!!!

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    Hate hate hate hate hate…this series gone be great!

    faux reel, the basketball since March has had me burning up my free space on my DVR and ignoring housework and homework to rewatch games…

  • Skeeter McGee

    LeBron did work last night, and to be honest, I didn’t think Miami had any chance against the Bulls in Chicago. I was wrong and now it’ll be interesting to see what Rose and Co. will do in South Beach.

    Anybody else think that in like 2 years we will see Gibson getting Boozer-like money, but actually playing like he deserved the cake?

    Game 3 Predictions: Rose goes off, nobody else does anything for CHI. Bosh has his best game cause he’s back at home and ‘Bron has a triple-double. BOLD, I know haha…

  • Skeeter McGee

    oops, didn’t put who would win for my prediction (only the most important part). I’m gonna say Heat go up 2-1 and make Thibs sweat!

  • http://www.nbadunks.org NBA Dunks

    Haslem’s Dunk on D-Rose und Bogans:

    http://www.nbadunks.org

  • DNice

    Welcome back UD!!! He was the difference. Being hurt all year he should have plenty of energy for the rest of the playoffs. Lets go HEAT!!

  • JAY

    Great game by the Heat. I managed to get back home in time to catch the last quarter. There was a span of like 3 minutes when the score was stuck 73. Brutal.

    To respond to alf’s question about which players Barkley played with were gay…
    One dude stands out to me… “Thunder” Dan Majerle.

  • Diggity Dave

    I think the difference in this game was that the Heat went to Wal Mart:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1tufujnbzU&feature=player_embedded

  • yoda

    haven’t heard that comment by sir charles, but maybe he meant against someone or during the college or some pickup games. anyway, i don’t know why is that an issues. imho, more gay men means more free girls to pick up for straight guys :)

  • its fixed

    sternbot was at it again. look how many weak fouls were called against chi in the 2nd q! heat were in the bonus with 9MINS left!!! the MVP gets no love but when wade is caught behind the backboard the same ref bailed him out 4 times that Q. wake up sheeple the villain lebron gets the ratings up . meet sterns new cash cow! Daughnehey was right…nobody wants to see it

  • http://www.remixcomic.com Nodizzel

    ^

  • Skeeter McGee

    The Playoffs are not fixed. You don’t think some clown would have come out by now with a book or memoir or 30 for 30 or documentary or blog about how they worked in the league and they wanted fouls called for certain players to “fix” games?

    I understand conspiracy theorists are out there, and I hear them. But to them I say this: get a job/life/girlfriend/all of the above. Stop wasting your life on what you think you know but will never know you know…

  • steve nasty

    Missing in action………..Boozer

  • north

    Somebody said it above and I’ve been saying it all along… Rose thinks he’s a taller Iverson. He’s a nicer guy and he’ll always head to practice but if you watch him, you know it’s true.

  • That’s What’s Up

    I have never seen more botched layups than Boozer has had in the last two games.
    Does that big bastard even know how to make a layup?

    Geez… even my 3 year old consistently makes layups

  • UncheckedAggression

    Is anyone else impressed with how imperfect the Bulls offense is, yet they keep games close? Seriously, their defense is on point. If Rose figures out a way to be more efficient… Damn.

  • the truth

    If u say lebron’s not clutch anymore u need to a.) watch basketball, or b.) shut the fuck up.

  • LeRoy Green

    Wow so D Rose is human after all. A team finally figured out that you have to COLLAPSE on him on screen and rolls and TRAP him at the point of attack or he’s gonna kill you over and over and over. It was great to see the Heat react to Rose the way they did and have 3 guys waiting when he attacked the paint. He’s definitely one of the best finishers the game has ever seen and a team FINALLY defended him like they knew what he was capable of.

    I was seriously starting to think he would be the next Michael Jordan the way he dominated and teams stayed afraid to smother him and FORCE him to pass the ball. I give mad props to Spoelstra for figuring out the obvious- get the ball out the MVP’s hands and you’ll have a shot at beating them. Thats what this series comes down to- AGRESSIVE and INTENSE defense. Miami finally manned the fuck up and stopped lettin Rose dance around the court and show out on them like he’s done the whole league all year. It’ll be interesting to see if the Heat can bring that same defensive effort 2 games in a row at home.

  • MouseMcFadden

    Looks like Smack shuffles writers like Spoelstra shuffles centers.

  • QQ

    Gotta admit that Bron stepped up his clutch game right there. The conference finals (both) has been a joy to watch, and it only gets better after this.

    And it was fun seeing Miami and Chicago play the ‘Who Has The Most Useless Player’ game last night, pitting Mike Bibby against Kyle Korver.

    Every time those two checks in, the courts automatically becomes smaller, recognizing that the game has now shifted to 4 on 5. (4 on 4 when they’re both in).

    PS: Reggie Miller: ‘I don’t think Kyle Korver can play in this series’.

    Steve Kerr: ‘But they still need his scoring..’

    Hmmm… I know you have an affinity to white guys who can shoot, Steve, but please don’t be a dumbass. What scoring? Kid doesn’t bring ANYTHING to the table.

  • Pat

    Has anyone ever seen Udonis Haslem with his mouth guard actually in a position to protect his teeth? Whenever the camera points at him he either has it hanging out of the side of his mouth, in his hand, or, occasionally, throwing it at the ref.

  • Big Island

    As much as I hate it, the Heat deserved that win. I am a firm believer in the NBA calling certain games/series in favor of certain teams (06 Heat), but I didn’t think that at all last night. Chicago would’ve been fine if Rose/Deng/Boozer shot more than 30%. Rose going 7-23 is bad, but Deng and Boozer combining for like 8-25 on top of it KILLED their chances.

    Did Barkley play with that homo KG?

  • DH

    Keep this in mind for all the conspiracy theorists out there…everyone says the Bulls were getting hosed on the foul calls in the second quarter. At halftime, both sides had 14 free throws. How can you be hosed so badly but still shoot the same number of free throws?

  • K Dizzle

    If you Chicago, you gotta feel pretty good today. Don’t know if the Heat can play much better defensively.
    Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Korver shot 16/55(less than 30%) and WERE STILL TIED with 4:35 to go in the 4th. Rest of the squad shot 45%.
    For real, couldn’t believe the final quarter.
    Bulls scored 10 POINTS in the 4th. Taj Gibson was the only dude scorin. Taj short jumper. Taj Gibson 20 footer. Two Rose freebies. A Taj dunk to tie it at 73 with about 7 mins left. Then a Taj layup with 2 and a half left to put the Bulls down 3. There is no way Rose, Boozer, Deng are that invisible in a tight game down the stretch for 3 more games…..well, maybe Booze. Lebron clutch? Naw. Bulls missed oppurtunities.

    p.s. It’s not good that I know the name Jason Phillips. Dude was terrible with his foul calls. It’s bad when the commentators start wondering where the calls were comin from, especially in the 2nd quarter when he called 4 straight Bulls fouls in the span of 40 SECONDS to start the quarter. Watson rips Chalmers clean. Whistle! Then it was like Phillips just snapped like Billy Crystal in Forget Paris lol

  • K Dizzle

    @ DH

    Ever ask yourself why the refs felt the need to even up the foul count? If the foul count was 14-8, maybe cuz one team was actually foulin. Nothin bothers me more when I’m playin, coachin or watchin hoops and dudes act like the fouls need to be 5-5. If my squad is attackin the tin and you shootin jumpers, yeah, the fouls should be in my favor. If you watched the game, you might have noticed 2 of those 4 beginning of 2nd quarter fouls were completely phantom…

  • http://www.haywoodplanning.com D.H.

    I’m normally not one to comment on this type of thing, but your spelling and grammar in this post was terrible. For a mainstream site you really need to look into hiring a copy-editor.

  • CLAW

    Solid defensive game, but just like Wade/Lebron in Game 1 I think Boozer and Deng bounce back in game 3. A close game and the Bulls were missing shots that weren’t forced, ball just wasn’t going in.

    Lebron and clutch needs to go away until he is actually in a clutch situation with game on the line and then let’s see whats up.

    Boozer is the key, last year for the Jazz he was dominant he really needs to get involved if they are going to pull this one out. And quit doing the P&R with Noah, use Boozer who can hit the spot up J.

  • This_Will_Hurt

    “the Heat couldn’t wheeled in Michael Jordan’s statue from outside and it would’ve rebounded better.”

    Are you serious???? How did you pass EOC exams in high school?

    Oh, and for those saying Lebron needs to do something with the game on the line–THIS GAME WAS ON THE LINE. It was ugly as shit O, and he was the lone wolf to step it up. If he backed down people would be on that ‘Lebron sucks at closing’ tip. So STFUWGKTA.

  • http://www.gofukurselves.idiots.org Chicagorilla

    wow @kdizzle,

    You in here actaully making sense! Lol, seriously you hit the nail on the head. Bulls were pulling away to start the 2nd qt after that big three by Deng at the end of the first. The refs made sure that didnt happen by killing all the momentum the Bulls had by taking out Rose with bad foul calls, then when that didnt work they took out the rest of the teams confidience with ticky tac fouls.

    People don’t realize the fragility of a players psyche during games.

    But i will say that the bad foul calls did not decide the game. The Bulls just missed shots and Lebron (the front runner he is) closed out the game with some timely baskets.

    Rose will not miss those many easy shots again, Deng will hit more jumpers, and Boozer….well nvm, he might play that poorly every game lol.

    Stop giving Spolestra props for using the EXACT SAME STRATEGY ON ROSE that every other NBA team has used since he was a rookie. I mean seriously do you guys watch any of the Bulls games? The entire Pacers/Hawks series they trapped Rose on the PNRs. Leaving Noah at the top of the key to panic and make bad decisions.

    Thibs may be playing the same mind games that he did with ATL by not showing his hand right now as far as his strategy on the PNRs. Vs ATL in game 6 he put Boozer at the key and Boozer killed them. lets hope he goes back to that in spurts.

  • UncheckedAggression

    Question: How many comments do you think there would be right now if Lebron had come up short last night?

  • LakeShow84

    Refs are becoming much more transparent nowadays in how they try to control the game..

    Just sayin

  • LakeShow84

    And good chin check thrown by MIA..

    Whatchu got CHI?????? lol series may just go 7..

    and if it goes 7..

    Wade will destroy them lol

  • DH

    @Chicagorilla – Why do you think Rose won’t miss easy shots again? He seemingly shoots 30% more often than he has good games…look at the Atlanta series. Rose is just a more likable Iverson, minus the jumper and plus practice.

  • http://www.gofukurselves.idiots.org Chicagorilla

    and big shout out to that bastard Udones Haslem. Man that dude changed the game big time. I wanna hate dude but i can’t lol. Bastard.

    Oh and Clevland should:
    Draft Derrick Williams #1
    Draft Brandon Knight #4

    Get a two for one deal vs Kyrie and no one else.

    The Wolves will trade #2 (Kyrie) or Flynn and Rubio to a team that needs a pg like Sactown or Bobcats.

  • LakeShow84

    @ DH

    Way off on that comparison.. Rose does WHATEVER he needs to win.. whether that be score at will or drop assists..

    Iverson did WHATEVER he needed to get sweet #’s..

    big difference..

    HUGE difference..

  • CLAW

    @Hurt – Lebron scored when everybody else was brickin, but I want to see clutch. Game winning shot, hit FTs in the closing seconds. Clutch is being down one and hitting 2 FTs to put your squad up not scoring with 4 minutes left in the game.

    So was there a Sporty J Spice siting after the Heat got spanked in that first game? Don’t see him again, is he waiting till the Heat are up in the series? If so he might not be heard from again.

  • http://www.DarkWingPro.com DarkWing Productions

    After 2 games, I can say with confidence

    “I have no idea how the rest of this series is going to play out”

  • http://www.gofukurselves.idiots.org Chicagorilla

    @D.H.
    Funny thing but you may be right, but for all the reasons that you don’t know.

    Iverson could have been an all time great PG had he just used his all around skill set and gave his teammates a chance. Iverson (like Rose) draws so much attention when he gets into the lane that sometimes he may need to shoot, but most times (unlike Rose) he failed to hit his open teammates.

    Rose is very unselfish, if he had A.I.’s mentality he’d be putting up 32ppg with ease. Rose does what it takes to win, Iverson did what he wanted to do to win. There’s a difference.

    You do realize Rose is one of the top shot blockers at guard right? Thats a tribute to him doing what it takes.

  • JAY

    WTF??
    Rose is like Iverson?? Get the fuk outta here with that comparison. Lol. Why people pretend to be stupid, I will never know. You know better than that.

  • LakeShow84

    @ JAY

    He aint pretending lol

  • Big Island

    ^^^JAY^^^ LOL!!!!

  • DH

    @Chicagorilla,

    I’m just saying how come the dunk on D-Wade was so much better than the one on D-Rose? Rose actually had a chance whereas Wade didn’t, but apparently Gibson’s dunk was one of the best plays in the playoffs.

  • trollne1

    i think i threw up in my mouth a little after i saw the title of today’s smack

  • pharoah

    why do people say that LBJ isnt clutch? did every1 forget his 2 game-winning layups in the same series against the wizards in the 1st round? how about the FATALITY he pulled off in detroit during the 07 ECFs? Even in his game 7 against the celtics in 08 (they still lost)he along with pierce was giving each other buckets down the stretch. the most recent clutchness (excluding these playoffs) was pulled off against the Magic in game 2 of the 09 ECFs. im not saying that hes jordan, or maybe even kobe. but this notion of him not having testicular fortitude down the stretch is quite funny. it seems like every time he misses a bucket down the stretch, he considered a choker. but when he hits them, people act like they’ve never seen it before.