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LeBron took the shots the Celtics wanted him to take, he just made all of them

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) June 8, 2012 Recaps 6 Comments

Lebron james jumper over pietrus game 6LeBron James was out of this world good last night.  He hit every shot he took.  He was an unstoppable force. 

But it's the TYPE of shots he hit that are leaving the Celtics a little more comfortable with his performance than one might think.  After the game, Doc said

I wasn't really okay with those dunks at the basket and things like that.  Some of the turnaround jumpshots, we've been living with that and we're going to continue to live with that.

According to HoopData, 18 of LeBron's 26 shots came from beyond 10 feet.  He was 5-6 from the 10-15 range… 5-8 from 16-23 feet… and 2-4 from 3.  

That's 12-18 from 10 feet and out… or just about 66.7%.

In the 3 Celtics wins,  LeBron was 12-38 from 10 feet and out, or about 31.6%

That's why Doc says they're going to continue living with that.  Because the Celtics know that the way you deal with LeBron james is you turn him into a jump shooter and hope he doesn't get hot.  He got hotter than hot last nght, and there was nothing the Celtics could do about it.  The rest of the team, though, went 18-50.

This is like blackjack.  Sometimes you play it the right way and you lose.  The Celtics played LeBron the right way, at least in one sense, last night.  They forced him to take jumpers.  He only got to the rim FOUR times last night.  That's 3 fewer than he's taken at the rim in any other game this series.  

Now, there is the matter of getting up in his face and contesting those shots better.  More Doc:

But he made a lot of tough ones.  But I still didn't think we guarded him with the force that we have to guard LeBron.  I thought he brought it to us, and we never gave it back.  Maybe that's a better way of explaining it.

Sometimes a guy like LeBron James is going to burn you.  But I feel like the Celtics aren't going to change much of what they did defensively in response to this.  It's sounding like the Celtics will just want to do the things they did better, rather than mix things up too much. 

One note on that:  I did think Brandon Bass did a decent job on LeBron for a while there.  I'm not sure how much more of that we'll see in Game 7, but we know it's an option.  

What are the odds LeBron goes off like that again?  Hard to say.  He played better than we've seen in a LONG time.  He's more than capable of doing it again.  You'll read some glowing stuff about him today and he deserves that.  But as awesome as he was last night, the Celtics have confidence that they can bring him back to earth.

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  • screaming jay

    That game face that Lebron was wearing in last night’s game was a reflection of an inner resolve and intent that I’ve never seen on the guy before. I hope this isn’t the case, but there is a possibility that Lebron has finally found that other gear, that “next level” everybody has criticised Lebron for not being able to call on, that gear that all the all-time greats have been shown to call on, in the most important games in the post season. If so, then the rest of the NBA might be in trouble.
    He’s been able to shift to that gear, last night confirmed it. The big question now is if he can shift to that gear when he wants to, or if it isn’t readily available when he wants to find it.
    Game 7: where heart attacks happen…..

  • Danno

    LeBron always has lights out high scoring games when they’re already up by 20 and there’s no actual pressure on him.
    The Heat didn’t win because of Lebron.
    They won because Pierce had 9 and KG had 12.
    Even with Lebron scoring 45 and playing 46 of 48 minutes, they still didn’t crack 100 points.

  • Ray

    I think we need to see Bass on LeBron for a stretch if only to keep Pierce out of foul trouble.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01157053529f970b zippittyay

    Your headline is the best summation of the game yet.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01157053529f970b zippittyay

    BTW, we need a new poll.
    How about “What would you do with LeBron’s head if you just happened to come across it in the middle of the road?”
    A. Try and find the owner
    B. Call a crane to get it moved
    C. Convert it to a homeless shelter
    D. Drive around like it wasn’t there

  • SamR

    +1000. He looked totally different, like he wasn’t worried about what the critics would or wouldn’t say, that he knew he was the best player on the planet and he was gonna go show it.