For all the hype that surrounded last summer’s “Decision,” Lebron James has let his game do the talking during the NBA Playoffs. And that has made all the difference.
Lebron’s opponents, the Chicago Bulls, spent the majority of the Eastern Conference Finals running their mouths and not their offense. Whether it was Joakim Noah screaming epithets at the crowd or Carlos Boozer making inciting comments about Chris Bosh, the Bulls ultimately had more talk than they had game. When winning time came last night at the United Center, Noah and Boozer were watching from the bench as James and the Heat took the game away from them with an 18-3 run to end the game. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau considered Noah and Boozer offensive liabilities in the end.
I admit I was one who found the “show” around Lebron’s leaving Cleveland for Miami highly distasteful and representative of what is wrong with sports today. Since then, however, Lebron hasn’t drawn any attention to himself with anything except his game. Last night, he led his team in points, rebounds and assists. And with the game in the balance, he shut down MVP Derrick Rose, Chicago’s only real offensive threat. Dare I say his performance last night put him in rarefied “air”?
I’m a big fan of the “shut up and play” mentality. In this series, it was the Heat who let their game do the talking while the Bulls were left speechless watching Miami celebrate a trip to the NBA Finals on their court.