If I were a documentary maker, I’d set out in search of the elusive fourth quarter from LeBron James. It’s not like “Bigfoot” or “Nessie.” We’ve seen the man put up big numbers in the past. Just look at his close-out effort in the previous series against Chicago.
For a spell in Game 5, we saw the LeBron that we have come to know, commanding the ball and dictating the flow of the Miami offense. It took Dwyane Wade’s absence as a result of his collision with Brian Cardinal for that to occur. As soon as Wade returned to action, James took up residence on the baseline and was often absent for entire offensive sets.
In Game 6, James will seek to find his “niche,” as he said, in the fourth quarter. I’m not quite sure what that means on a grand scale. Five games should have been enough to find that gap, that hole, that source of inspiration.
Eric Spoelstra has spent the past 48 hours searching for the fourth quarter LeBron as well. If he can’t, there’s still the potential that he finds himself looking for work in the midst of a suspected lockout.
Nobody’s asking that LeBron scores 20. He just can’t be a bystander. He can’t take a backseat.
This series won’t define James’ legacy. But a loss digs him a pretty big hole and a lot of vitriolic rants in the blogosphere.
Get your binoculars out.