Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
LeBron James would hear less boos in a haunted house than an away game; coincidentally, he's also haunted by his past.
A Game 6 victory will bring LeBron one step closer to exorcising a multitude of burdening demons.
On the court, the criticism for basketball's most polarizing figure generally stems from one issue: the inability to close in crunch time.
Considering that Miami trounced the opposing road blocks on its way to the 2011 NBA Finals, a victorious Indiana team would unleash a wrecking ball targeting James' image.
In the context of sports, Game 7s are the textbook definition of the term "pressure cooker." Even those loosely affiliated with each franchise are emotionally invested to an extent—it's the determining battle of a fluctuating war. Two adversaries sit across from each other and push every chip towards the center of the table. The stakes consist of bragging rights, reputations and jobs.
The solution to avoiding Game 7's sweat-inducing anxiety and immeasurable stress? Simple, avoid Game 7 altogether.
With a 3-2 series lead, there are two trains of thought that Miami can board heading into Game 6. The players can rest reassured that the sky isn't going to fall—a one-game lead serves as a security blanket. Adversely, the Heat can view tonight's clash as an opportunity to cease the moment and capitalize on their runaway momentum.
No Bosh, no Haslem, no problem.
Miami has reconfigured and adapted to life without Chris Bosh.
Udonis Haslem's recent contributions haven't gone unnoticed, but his presence throughout the preceding eight playoff games did. And justifiably so—he's only averaging five points alongside five rebounds per game this postseason.
Offensively, Miami's post-game has graced the back of milk cartons since Bosh's injury. The critical responsibilities for the Heat's big men reside at the defensive end.
After compiling impressive numbers in the first trio of games, David West's production has dwindled due to a harassing Shane Battier.
LeBron showcased his best Dennis Rodman impression in Game 4, owning the boards by snatching 18 rebounds. Offensively, he tallied a seemingly effortless 40 points, but fell shy of a triple-double with 9 assists.
The defending MVP has illustrated, time and again throughout this season, that he simultaneously grows stronger with the weight of responsibility.
A triple-double may have narrowly eluded James on May 20 (which hard-headed critics undoubtedly found a smidget of pleasure in), but expect the superstar to shine in a similar fashion tonight.