LeBron James didn't seem to be too fazed by the Miami Heat blowing out his Cleveland Cavaliers team the last time they faced off at the AmericanAirlines Arena this season. James was visibly laughing it up and chatting up a storm with Dwyane Wade at halftime (while the Cavs were down big) as well as after the game along with other members of the Heat organization.
The Cavs brass took notice of it and reportedly had a talk with him, but should the two teams face off in the Eastern Conference Finals, ESPN analyst Jalen Rose thinks it will be a special challenge for the former MVP and NBA Champion from his time down here in Miami.
What asked about whether or not Miami was a true threat to Cleveland's title chances, Rose had this to say.
So besides the obvious Golden State and the Spurs, the individual intriguing series that I'm looking forward to will be that one, because the dynamic that's going to have to play out is something we as fans really wanted to see every time the Cavs went back to Miami, and in particular the last time when they got blown out and LeBron was fraternizing with D‑Wade during the game, and we know from talking to Coach Blatt and talking to the general manager, he's basically played great basketball since.
So the great thing that's going to have to happen for the Cavs to advance is there's going to have to be a hatred, there's going to have to be a dislike that LeBron is going to need to carry versus that former jersey that he hasn't and against his brother Dwyane Wade and against his team that he won two championships with, and vice versa. I'm really fascinated to see how that's going to play out because Wade, if they were losing by 25, if he was down there fraternizing with LeBron, I don't know who would have got to him first between Pat or Spo.
Rose was also asked about Goran Dragic and whether he's good enough to lead Miami to the Eastern Conference Finals.
I do, because he's a smart basketball player, a crafty lefty, can finish in the paint, finish at the hoop, make mid‑range shots and even make threes when he gets going. He can be a really effective offensive player and he's a willing passer, but he was playing different in Phoenix where they play four on one, sometimes five guys surrounding the three‑point line, whereas Miami plays more traditional, more conventional. Wade is not a three‑point shooter, Deng can shoot but he's a driver. Winslow is not a three‑point shooter. They're one of the worst three‑point shooting teams in the entire league. That in itself suppresses the floor, based on what he was used to playing and seeing as a point guard.
But now I like the way they're using him in side pick‑and‑roll situations where he has a lob dribble to get to the paint or do a lob to Whiteside, and also using his side pick‑and‑roll so he can drive the middle with his left hand.
I think he's been a lot better recently. It's always tough, also, when you get a new contract and you weren't necessarily a franchise‑caliber player or even an All‑Star, and a lot of Heat Nation are probably saying, why are we paying this guy $80 million. You never get what you deserve, only what you have the leverage to negotiate. So he probably won't live up to being an All‑Star in the East, but I do think he's effective enough to help them get to the Eastern Conference Finals this year.
Rose made the comments during a conference call to promote ESPN and ABC's coverage of the 2016 NBA Playoffs. He will join the rest of the NBA Countdown crew for three shows throughout the weekend plus a special NBA Playoffs Preview show on Friday, April 15 at 9 p.m. ET.
Back to LeBron, do you think he lacks that killer instinct against Wade and Miami? First and foremost, the Heat need to play much more consistently then they've shown as of late just to get through two rounds, but do you think Miami could be a true threat to LeBron and the Cavs?