If Miami was playing the 1989 Detroit Pistons instead of the current Boston Celtics, there is no way LeBron James’ whining and showmanship after every made basket would have been tolerated.
While watching game two of Heat vs. Celtics last night, it occurred to me just how much the NBA had changed; there are no more “goons.”
There are no more “playoff fouls”. Hell, anytime James acted like he’d been fouled on his way to the basket, the Miami fans reacted and ultimately the refs did to at the worst time for the Celtics; in the fourth quarter.
Every time the Celtics drew within a basket, LeBron had an answer and hit a critical shot that stole the momentum back. The “Bad Boy” Chuck Daly led Detroit Piston teams of the late 80’s and early 90’s knew how important the momentum of a game was, especially on the road.
At some point in the late third or fourth quarter either Bill Laimbeer or Dennis Rodman would have done something inflammatory to take James out of his rhythm. Whether a hard foul, or just constantly grinding on him with an elbow every time Miami had the ball, an egomaniacal, soft player like James would have been an easy target for the mental warfare of those great Pistons squads, much like a young Michael Jordan was before he got over the hump and finally beat the Pistons in the playoffs after three years of being unable to do it.If nothing else, a player like John “Spider”
Salley or Rick Mahorn would have found a way to use all six of his fouls on throwing the other team’s best player out of his rhythm.
And if fouls are being called on every offensive possession anyway (like they were against the Celtics), why not start fouling him hard? The Heat shot 14 more fouls shots for the game (22 vs. 36) and in the fourth quarter Miami shot 17 free throws compared to the Celtics six. The foul calls that the Heat were getting were chippy and weren’t being called both ways; so why doesn’t Doc Rivers pull some one off the bench and send him in there to burn up all six of his fouls, in a physical “Bad Boys” type way? Not in an obvious flagrant type way, and I’m not saying you hurt anyone intentionally, but something to change the pace of the game; the fouls were getting called anyway. It would have completely changed the dynamic of the fourth quarter. Something like this;www.youtube.com/watch
Those are the kinds of fouls that caused Scottie Pippen to miss game seven of the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals with a migraine headache.
How do you think Chris Bosh would’ve fared against going against Laimbeer or James Edwards every possession? Or LeBron versus a young Dennis Rodman? Or D Wade versus Mark Aguirre or Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson? I think it would be a predictable end; and we wouldn’t have to sit thru near as much of “King James’” double bicep poses.