Phil Jackson: LeBron James Must Take Over Like Michael Jordan to Beat the Warriors

by June 08, 2016

Twenty-three years ago, the Chicago Bulls fell behind 2-0 in their Eastern Conference Finals war with the New York Knicks, only to roar back with four consecutive wins and continued their march towards a third consecutive NBA championship.

Former Bulls head coach Phil Jackson watched Michael Jordan play like “a man possessed”, and thinks LeBron James has to do the same thing in the Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

LBJ expects his performance to improve starting tonight in Game 3, but says he won’t try to be like Mike.

Per the NEOMG and NY Daily News:

Jordan, angered by a New York Times story following Game 2 of that series detailing Jordan’s off day spent at an Atlantic City casino, led the Bulls to four straight wins. “I think it’s going to take something for LeBron to step into that,” Jackson said. “Put his cape on and say, “I’m going to have to take over a lot of this series, doing the things beyond my level or my normal capacity.’ He’s been a team player up until this point but I think he’s going to have to step beyond that.”

 

James said if he were to start posting high-point, Jordan-like games against the Warriors, it wouldn’t be because of something that was said or because James changes who he feels he is as a player. It would happen “because I worked on my craft all season long and that’s the result of it.” [….] “I think for me to go out and be who I am and play as true to the game and as hard as I can and try to lead this team, that’s who I am,” James said. “Not anybody else. I’m not Michael. I’m not Ali. I’m not nobody else that’s done so many great things for sport.”

 

Jordan also had Scottie Pippen as well as the experience of winning with that group of Chicago Bulls players prior to the 1993 Eastern Conference finals against the Knicks. Jordan and the Bulls won four straight, including that memorable Game 5 at Madison Square Garden when the Bulls repeatedly denied Charles Smith around the basket in the closing seconds. […] The odds of LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers stringing together four straight wins is unlikely, especially since they’ve dropped seven straight to Golden State. That includes the first two games of the NBA Finals by a combined 48 points, the largest point differential after two games in Finals history.