Has LeBron James Finally Accepted He Must Put Heat on His Back for Team to Win?

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IMay 23, 2012

MIAMI, FL - MAY 22:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat reacts after dunking during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at AmericanAirlines Arena on May 22, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

No matter how many times LeBron James has been criticized in the past for his failures in the fourth quarter of close games, it's hard to criticize "The King," for those same reasons right now.

LeBron's play the past two games has been nothing short of outstanding, mostly due to the fact that James has finally accepted the fact that he needs to put the Heat on his back for Miami to have the success they are capable of having.

LBJ has always been the perfect teammate. He has the rare skill set of having point guard skills in a small forward body. Therefore, deferring has always come natural to him.

That's just the player that he is and there's nothing wrong with that.

Yet with James in takeover mode, the Heat are at their very best.

In the past two games, LBJ has averaged 35 points, 14 rebounds and 8.5 assists, but throw away the numbers for a second. What suddenly makes the Heat dangerous again is LeBron's mentality and approach to the game.

Sure, LeBron has had many great playoff moments in the past, but he has shown to be tentative at times and that has brought the critics out of the wood works.

But if James keeps up his current pace, soon the critics will have nothing to talk about.

It's all about his willingness to be the best player in the game.

If LeBron is willing to realize that an aggressive, determined LeBron, playing with a chip on his shoulder for 48 minutes is virtually unstoppable, then the results late in games will be different.

The Heat's fourth-quarter issues will be a thing of the past if James continues on this path.

LeBron is a closer and no one else in a Heat uniform should be touching the ball late in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.

While the past two games haven't come down to fourth-quarter execution for the Heat, judging by his play, it looks like LBJ has finally accepted the fact that he needs to put the team on his back in order to win a championship.

If he has indeed realized that fact, LeBron could turn in something special for the remainder of the postseason.