Written by Graham Brunell


LeBron James knows he'll be facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals if he can advance past the Orlando Magic, possibly the only team in the league that can slow down LeBron's Cavs. But the key word in that sentence is "if," as the Cavs are currently down 3-2 after winning the previous game. They now head to Orlando for game 6 in an attempt to push the series to seven games and fly back to Cleveland.

All series long, the Cavs have been riding on LeBron's strong shoulders, which to me seem to be invincible after seeing his past few performances. It's almost out of the question now for the supporting cast (other than Mo Williams and a rare night from Big Z) to show up and actually produce ALONGSIDE of "The King."

Perhaps the only time you could have argued that the role players stepped up was last game, game 5, when Daniel Gibson gave the Cavs 11 points off 3-5 shooting. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Mo Williams, and Delonte West all had exceptional nights as well, combining for 53 points to compliment LeBron's triple-double (which featured 37 points).

I mean, really, where's the usual help from LeBron's mates? Zydrunas Ilgauskas is averaging 1.7 less points in the Orlando series than he was in the regular season. I can't tell you the last time I saw a good bench game from Wally Szczerbiak. Anderson Varejao, a power forward, can't manage to get five or more rebounds despite playing 28.4 minutes.

Then again, this is not something LeBron's never experienced before. Does anybody NOT reminisce the 2006-07 NBA Playoffs, a year where LeBron redefined the meaning of "flying solo?"

He put the Cavs on his shoulders (or back, whichever one you prefer) and carried them to the Finals (although they would eventually fall to the San Antonio Spurs in a mere four games). And not only that, the team he was facing (Detroit Pistons) was certainly an veteran one; one that had been used to pressure situations. So it's not like LeBron is going to back down despite facing enormous adversity.

So... Can LeBron? Let's review some matchups and keys again.

  • Well, he obviously wins the matchup against Hedo Turkoglu. He can undoubtedly rule the paint at any given time, but Turk has to watch for an outbreak on the perimeter as well. With that being said, LeBron is basically "Double Trouble." And that's just from a scoring standpoint. As you saw in game 5, LeBron can pass and rebound too, as his triple-double was also made up of 12 assists and 14 rebounds to go along with his 37 points.
But wait, what about Turkoglu? This guy can score too, right? Well sure, but many people are oblivious to the fact that LeBron was an all-defender this year, compiled with the strength and quickness to completely shut down a 6-10 guy like Turk.

  • He now has a few game-winners under his belt, so he is accustomed to having to take the last shot. Here's an example:

And just for fun (watch out for the ecstatic random guy in the back right corner)...

LeBron is a born leader, a guy who can get his teammates' adrenaline pumping for the upcoming game, and a guy who will surely have them prepared for game 6. He will not stand for any defensive mistakes. He won't stand and watch when his fellow players err on the offensive end. No, King James will look to be more of a leader than a force in game 6.


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