NBA Finals 2011: LeBron James and 5 Other Players Who Need to Step Up
LeBron haters already believed that he shrunk in the biggest games, but are LeBron lovers starting to change their thoughts?
He isn't the only player that has played less than par in the finals though. There are five other players that need to step up their game if they expect to bring home the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy to their city.
No 6: Joel Anthony
Joel Anthony isn't asked to score points at a high rate. He starts and plays 20-plus minutes a game for his high energy, defense and rebounding.
There is no excuse for Anthony to collect zero rebounds in Game 5. It's not like the Heat's defense had many opportunities to grab rebounds because the Mavericks shot 57 percent from the floor, but you would expect at least a few rebounds from their center.
Anthony is a quality defender in the NBA, but even he is getting burned lately.
He is averaging 3.6 rebounds per contest in the NBA Finals, the lowest in any series this postseason. Anthony will need to provide the Heat with energy, rebounding and defense in Game 6 on Sunday.
No 5: Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd shot the ball well in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, scoring 13 points. He seemed a little hesitant and timid, but he came through with some clutch shots late.
He is only averaging seven points through five games against the Heat. Kidd is struggling from the floor, shooting 38 percent.
Of course, Kidd has been great dishing the ball like a real point guard should, averaging six assists. He is one of the greatest rebounding guards of all-time, and he is proving that, averaging five rebounds in the finals.
Those areas have been good but shooting has been a problem. He has scored single digits in four of the five games, including a zero-point performance in game four.
Maybe his 4-6 shooting in Game 5 will get him into a rhythm for the rest of the series.
No 4: Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh has been pretty solid in four of the five games of the NBA Finals. There have been a couple of areas where he can improve on drastically: defense and fourth quarter production.
He was 1-6 in Game 5 and 1-2 in Game 4 in the fourth quarter. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James carry the load in the fourth quarter, but if Bosh wants to be considered the third "star" of the Heat, he must show up.
He is living up to the bill of being a half-star. He should thank James for being horrendous in the fourth because it is hiding the fact that Bosh hasn't been there either.
Defensively, Bosh has been getting torched by the Mavericks, especially late in games. People have always thought that Bosh was soft, and he showing hints of that in the finals.
No 3: Peja Stojakovic
Peja Stojakovic has been useless in the NBA Finals. He doesn't have the athleticism to play against the Heat, and his numbers suggest that.
He averaged 10 points against Portland, 13 points against Los Angeles and five points against the Thunder.
Stojakovic has only averaged one point in three games of the NBA Finals. He hasn't played in two games of the finals because he hasn't been good.
In Game 1, he played 15 minutes, he shot 0-3 from the floor and didn't score a point. He played five minutes in Game 2 and six in Game 3, scoring a combined two points.
I'm not sure if he will get another opportunity to redeem himself in the last two games of the series.
No 2: Mike Bibby
Mike Bibby has been nonexistent in the NBA Finals. He is only getting 17 minutes a game and has struggled doing what he has always done well —shooting.
He is shooting 35 percent from the floor while averaging four points per game. He played great in Game 2, scoring 14 points on 5-8 shooting. Coincidentally, he played the most minutes of the series in Game 2. In the other four games, Bibby has scored a total of five points.
What good is he if he isn't making shots? He is playing less and less because he hasn't shot the ball well, and his defense has been lacking.
No 1: LeBron James
LeBron James needs to step up his game in the fourth quarter. He has had solid statistical efforts against the Dallas Mavericks if he was an all-star point guard. I think we could all agree that James is more than just an all-star—he is a superstar.
Superstars score in the fourth quarter, and James hasn't done that. He has had four straight games where he has scored two or less points in the fourth quarter.
James has scored 25 points zero times in the NBA Finals. He scored over 25 three times in their five-game series against Chicago and against Boston. In the series against the Celtics, James put up 30 points three times.
So where has the scoring production gone? He is racking up the assists and rebounds, but all he has to do is score in the fourth quarter to rectify his overall performance.
If he scores 8-10 points in the fourth quarter that would probably get him his 25. This shouldn't be too much to ask for because he is one of the greatest players on the planet. His ability to be a slasher and attack the rim, is arguably the best in world.
He has two games to redeem himself in the fourth quarter.