Lebron Taking On A Heavier Load In The 2013 Playoffs

By on May 28, 2013

Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh (Issac Baldizon / Getty Images)

The NBA playoffs are down to the final four teams, and after an easy ride up to this point, the Miami Heat are being forced to play a challenging team. Indiana can match up with them well, even utilizing more size inside. Unlike last season, the Heat are acting less and less like a true Big Three. Instead, it is Lebron James and a bunch of role players. Can this be a recipe for success as they look to defend their title?

 

With San Antonio sweeping Memphis last night, every team left in the playoffs can force the Heat to go away from their famous small-ball mentality. With Dwyane Wade nursing a few nagging injuries, that means that both him and Bosh are being relegated to nothing more than solid role players.

 

James might not be scoring as much as he did in the playoffs last season, but he is being relied on more to truly carry the team. Bosh and Wade are both averaging under 14 points per game, disappointing their owners in fantasy basketball, and meaning that there does not seem to be a go-to scorer the Heat can turn to if teams try to double or triple team James.

 

So far, relying on James has worked out just fine. Can they do it for the rest of the playoffs though? Every remaining team can defend well as a team, meaning that James at some point can be limited to a degree. However, the Pacers at time seem to focus more on shutting down everyone else, allowing James to get his usual points. Even late in games, they opted not to collapse on him, confusing James into two turnovers at the end of Game 2.

 

In Game 3, the Heat finally put together a solid all-around team effort. It remains to be seen if it is a start of a new trend, or if the Heat will have to resort back to James carrying the huge load.

The Heat are still the favorites to win their second crown in as many years, but this team is quite a bit different from last season. Ray Allen and Chris Andersen might be two great additions, but they are not making up for the drop off in productivity from Bosh and Wade.

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