LeBron James: 5 Things We Learned About The King and The Miami Heat Last Night
LeBron James return to Cleveland was everything you wanted if you were a James supporter or a fan of Miami.
If you were a fan of the Cavaliers, all it did was remind you of what used to be yours and now isn't.
It was an agonizing night for Cleveland. LeBron rose to the occasion, something that he was unable to do against Boston in the playoffs.
Many are dissecting the fallout from last night's game. But what people should be talking about is how last night could serve as the turning point in Miami's season.
LeBron was fantastic last night. He proved that this team works best with him taking over and Dwyane Wade serving as his sidekick.
There's a lot to hash out from last night's win and go over. With that being said, here are five things we learned about the King and the Heat in general.
LeBron May Be Better Off After All
Maybe this is what James needed.
Maybe he needed to be hated to toughen up. Maybe leaving Cleveland was the best choice after all.
Because LeBron has never played with an FU attitude until last night. Not even when he was in the playoffs did he ever show that killer instinct that so many great athletes possess.
Part of that is due to the fact the he has always been coddled and adored by fans regardless of where he was playing.
Now he is hated everywhere, he goes he cannot escape it.
Until last night, LeBron looked like a shell of himself. He played tentative, often differing to his teammates when he should have been aggressive.
Against the Cavs, he was everything the Heat thought he would be and more. LeBron played with a passion and edge to him that's never been seen.
Instead of playing hot potato with Wade, LBJ took over and didn't worry as much about getting the ball to Wade.
Erik Spoelstra should use the Cleveland game as a blueprint in how Wade and LeBron can coexist with both of them being effective.
But one thing is clear: This team is much better when James is running the show.
Spoelstra Needs to Establish Player Roles
Excluding the Big Three, Spoelstra needs to start to trim down his rotation and ride with eight or nine guys on a nightly basis.
That means guys like Eddie House, Erick Dampier, James Jones and Joel Anthony need their roles defined.
Jones and House represent the same thing. They both are three-point specialists who stretch the floor.
Spoelstra needs to pick one (likely Jones) and relegate the other to spot minutes instead of fluctuating every game.
Same goes for Juwan Howard, Dampier and Anthony. All three are vying for backup minutes behind Big Z and Chris Bosh.
Instead of sporadically playing the three, it would make more sense to go with two consistently.
Humans are creatures of habit. Going into a game knowing how many minutes you'll play along with what role you have is vital.
Spoelstra played a total of 11 guys last night.
But House and Dampier saw under 10 minutes of action. Which is a sign that he's starting to figure out a rotation.
Bosh Won't Live Up to Contract
This slide title is a little bit misleading.
Most of you are probably thinking a Bosh-is-terrible rant is coming.
But that isn't the case here.
Bosh won't live up to his contract not because of his ability. But because this team is at its best when LeBron is controlling the game, as was evidenced by last night's throttling.
Regardless of how bad the Cavs are, it's clear that in order for Miami to have continued success, they'll need the ball to run through James.
The problem for Bosh is in order for him to be effective offensively, he needs to touch the ball every time down the court. As highly-touted as the Big Three are, it's the Big Two that will ultimately determine how far Miami goes.
While Bosh is likely to receive heavy criticism for not living up to the dollar amount next to his name in this offense, is it really possible for him to average 20+ points with Wade and LeBron also around?
Mario Chalmers Will Be Starting Sooner Than Later
Now that Chalmers is getting healthier, he is finally being worked into the rotation.
The last four games, he's played 20 minutes or more. Last night, he finished with nine points in 20 minutes.
Carlos Arroyo has been steady for the Heat. But the veteran would be better off with the second unit, allowing Chalmers to roll with the big boys.
Chalmers can shoot it like Arroyo. But what separates him is his athleticism and ability to get to the rim.
It's only a matter of time before Spoelstra makes the move to Chalmers at the point.
Wade Needs to Play off LeBron
Wade's stat line from last night read as follows: 22 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
Those were supposed to be the type of numbers LeBron was going to put up when he came to Miami. It seems we may have been wrong all this time.
It's hard to dismiss last night's game when Wade and Bron Bron coexisted so well with Wade working off James most of the night.
If Wade turns himself into a roamer on defense who goes after steals like a thief in the night, crashes the boards and becomes more of a facilitator like he was against Cleveland, he may put the Heat over the edge.
The downfall is he may have to settle for 22-point nights compared to the 30 or so he's used to.
The best part about it for Miami is that Wade's the one that is most likely to check his ego at the door. When he sees that LeBron starts to surge with the ball in his hands more often, he'll make the necessary adjustments because he knows what it takes to win.
Wade's already won a title with him carrying the load. He doesn't need to prove anything.
Adding another title to his resume is what he's more concerned with.