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He’d better continue to like what he’s seeing, in the eyes and on the court.
And he’d better hope he’s seeing more than just James scoring, because what’s somewhat disconcerting for a Heat fan is to think not even an epic, highlight-reel show from LeBron was enough for a result won with anything close to comfort.
Thursday night marked new life but felt as much like a stay of execution for the Heat here in the city that is the mecca of pro basketball — a hostile place where Miami has lost seven of eight previous games, including four straight in the two-year-old Big 3 era of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
For this Heat team — this team alone — the cries of "Failure!" and the calls for change await elimination, whenever that might be, with nothing short of a championship parade able to satisfy.
Last season fell just short. This one had better not. The burden is accepted, and James attacked it Thursday night as if the responsibility was his alone.
Wade had zero points in the first quarter and would finish with only 17 on 6-for-17 shooting, his slow starts and spotty play continuing as a troubling postseason trend in the face of frequent double-teaming defense. Bosh, off the bench in only his second game back from injury, scored a modest seven as no other Miamian reached double figures.
"You really rise to the occasion when the pressure is there," Bosh had said, before the game, of his team.
That was to be determined, though. After falling short in last season’s championship round, and after a humbling, stunning three straight losses to again Boston in this series before Thursday, that was in doubt, indeed, as anxiety steamed across South Florida like humidity.
I’m still not quite certain if the Heat rose to the occasion Thursday night or if LeBron James simply did to such a degree a team followed in his massive wake.
I’m also not at all sure, either, if Miami can win a championship (or even Saturday’s Game 7) without consistently more help for James from the likes of Wade.
No matter for now, though.
A season lives, because one man made it so.
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