Pacers Coach Frank Vogel: LeBron James the ‘Best Defensive Player in the World’

by January 05, 2012

The Miami Heat were without Dwyane Wade’s services last night, so LeBron James simply took over the game. What impressed Frank Vogel the most was LBJ’s defense. From ESPN: “With Dwyane Wade sitting out a meeting with the upstart Indiana Pacers with a sore foot, James morphed right back into the mode that made him a two-time most valuable player with the Cavs. For the heavy majority of the game the ball was in James’ hands as he took over as the full-time facilitator in the 118-83 blowout victory to improve the Miami Heat to 6-1. James racked up 33 points with 13 assists and eight rebounds. He did it joyously, whipping backhanded passes to teammates while swinging his hips and thrusting back his shoulders after drawing shooting foul after shooting foul. He glared over at his bench after various exploits. It was full-on James swagger mode, the sort of stuff that was rather rare last season. Even after he turned his ankle by landing on Paul George inadvertently in the third quarter — James rolled around on the deck for a while before getting up and not even leaving the game, which some might say also was routine in his Cleveland days — it kept looking easy. ‘I was able to find my teammates and I was also get myself going, I didn’t a little bit of both,’ James said. ‘It was a well-balanced game for me.’ And he did it at both ends, smothering Pacers small forward Danny Granger and contributing to a horrid 2-of-13 shooting night for the small forward. ‘LeBron James, the best defensive player in the world, was on him,’ Pacers coach Frank Vogel said to explain Granger’s bad night.”