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Friday, March 2nd, 2012 at 9:50 am  |  57 responses

Erik Spoelstra: LeBron James Had a Magic Johnson-Like Performance


LeBron James had an incredible game against the Portland Trailblazers last night, as he was all over the court for the victorious Heat. Head coach Erik Spoelstra thought it was Magic Johnson-esque. From the Miami Herald: “Playing the best basketball in the NBA going into the All-Star break, Miami picked up where it left off on Thursday in Portland with a 107-93 victory against the Trail Blazers. The Heat (28-7) has won nine straight games, all by double-digits , and they did it at the Rose Garden without Chris Bosh, who missed the game to attend his grandmother’s funeral. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade more than picked up the slack, combining to score 71 points. Wade had 22 points in the first half, turning a close game into a bludgeoning in the blink of an eye. ‘We’re just playing basketball at an all-time high as far as us together,’ James said. The outcome was never in doubt but the Heat’s streak of consecutive victories by at least 10 points hung in the balance for a few minutes in the fourth quarter. That’s the mark of a team on a ridiculous winning streak — the only drama to be had is that of margin of victory. Portland cut the Heat’s lead to 10 points with about five minutes to play but James answered with a three-pointer and the Trail Blazers never got any closer. After leading the Eastern Conference All-Stars in points on Sunday, James’ remarkable regular season continued. He finished with 38 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and five steals. With Bosh out, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra evoked the name of Magic Johnson when addressing James before the game, asking the Heat’s versatile star to play multiple positions. James started the game at power forward offensively but played man-to-man defense against Trail Blazers center Marcus Camby. ‘I don’t know of another player who can handle that mentally,’ Spoelstra said. ‘He was able to settle into his game and that settled us.’ It was the sixth time this season James has scored at least 30 points while also recording 10 rebounds and five assists.”

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  • Mooney10

    He’s the best all around player, I have ever seen his size and athleticism are rediculous, I can’t name another guy who can play guard and play D on a center, Bron is the man!

  • jay cutler

    The haters and Kobe slurpers will have nothing to say now. Well, except for the SLAM keyboard warriors..

  • bike

    LeBron…
    has…
    the potential…
    to be…
    the G.O.A.T.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    Jay
    I don’t think most Kobe fans including me disagree with him being the best all around player in the league. My main issue is if this will continue in the finals. He was a beast in the first three rounds last year but shrunk in the biggest stage. This year I think he’s got it though and once he gets that ring the critics have no right to have any doubt. I’m actually rooting for the guy if the Lakers don’t play him lol

  • Fat Lever

    Lebron’s athletic ability has never been questioned. It’s his mental toughness in tight situations with high stakes where he’s regressed considerably. That’s why Magic is Magic, and why Lebron is, as of now, viewed as an amazing player but not on the level of legends. It’s one thing to fail while trying, it’s another to be scared to try.

  • Conor O.

    This is an annual thing now, isn’t it?

  • 23

    lebron not on the level of legends??? this dude is already one of the best at his position to ever play the game. 2 mvps, and is clearly the best player in the game today. how is that not good enough? lebron is already a sure shot at the hall of fame. lebron tore up chicago and boston last year in the playoffs, when wade was invisible at times. but nooo, that means nothing. finals means everything. barkley is not legendary, stockton and malone are not legends because they couldnt win a ring. stockton and malone are one of the best combos in the history of the league. when most considered malone the greatest pf of all time, and stockton was widely regarded as the best pg since magic. oh they arent legends cuz they couldnt win when it “mattered most”

  • 23

    lebron was scared against chicago right? he was also scared against boston? when wade played subpar people never called him scared, or said he “shrunk”, wade won a ring with a stacked team. wade didnt accomplish anything when his team lost all their talent. lebron carried a trash team DEEP into the playoffs regularly. but since wade won a ring against a terribly defensive Dallas squad, he is untouchable when it comes to criticism of clutch play?? thats just dumb. if lebron stayed in clev, i dont believe the heat would have madde it to the finals last year.

  • Jono

    Like it or not, LeBron is a better overall basketball player than Jordan/Kobe. The reason he’s always put down when compared to them is that whole ‘legacy’ arguement, which is totally valid, as well as the hatred he gained from his 1 hr of infamy on ESPN. After a couple chips, he’ll be considered right where he deserves to be, GOAT.

  • AQWORD

    Fat Lever needs a brain scan no doubt. Bron is workin hard constantly on all aspects of his game + is on a level you cant appreciate therfore comprehend. Go back to sukin yo mammas tittie. Using big words & aint sayin $hit. Word to bike.

  • sheed

    “LeBron is a better overall basketball player than Jordan” lol what

  • Fat Lever

    Ok, first of all yall getting your ish in a bunch need to calm down. When I talk legends, I’m talking the cream of the crop legends, which Lebron clearly has the talent to reach. Guys like MJ, Magic, Bird, Russell, Shaq, Kobe, Duncan are on a different level than Barkley, Malone, Stockton, or even dudes that have won a title or two. You’re telling me there are no tiers to legends? I am no Lebron hater, I appreciate what he’s doing. I’m saying the same thing as bike, the only thing Lebron has to get up is his mental toughness in close games in the playoffs. If he gets past that and wins titles like he alluded(what up AQ) to, he definitely has the potential to be the greatest ever. And AQ, if those words are too big for you to comprehend, I mean understand, go grab a got d@mn dictionary. Was that simple enough?

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Somone must have only seen 1995 MJ and on to make such a foolish statement about Bron being a better all-around player.

  • 23

    fat, im not trying to insult you by any means. just trying to have a discussion. im not calling you names like others have. my point was simply that i think that the fact that people give him the chance to be the goat, well that says alot. hes no flash in the pan. lebron james is as good as it gets. his talent stands alone. is his game perfect? obviously not, but i think he gets too much hack for the finals last year. anyone realize this dude hasnt won a championship since high school? so yeah he was in unfamiliar territory in last years finals. in his whole nba carreer he always had the burden of carrying an entire franchise on his shoulders alone with 0 help from anybody. now that he has help, he had to adjust his game accordingly. how can you use the word “scared” when lebron took out the #1 seed, and the mvp in the playoffs last year? and why doesnt wade get any flack for dissapearing in that chicago series?

  • 23

    i wouldnt call lebron an all around better player than jordan. but he is more “versitile” definitely. lebron, like magic, can play 5 positions. altho that is somewhat due to the fact that the nba today lacks big dominant centers. and jordan was basically a prototypical shooting guard. jordan was as pure basketball as it gets. but lebron is just a beast. 2 totally different players. so i dont really understand the comparisons between the 2 anyways. kobe is in the mold of jordan, and lebron basically broke the mold of what a basketball player can be. jordan was the perfect sg, and lebron is just the evolution of an extremely athletic and talented basketball player.

  • bike

    23 is touching on what might be the crucial ingredient of a player to be considered the greatest–a player that has added something unprecedented to the game. Wilt put up impossible numbers, KAJ has the sky hook and unheard of versatility for a big man, MJ combined skill with a competitive drive that’s never been equaled. LeBron, potentially, could be the first player that excelled at all 5 positions. Not saying he is there yet…but he seems to be trending in that direction.

  • hugo

    he’s not an overall better player than mj. Mj was probably the best at everything he did (except shoot 3s lol). However, that being said, Lebrons skillset exceeds any player we’ve seen. bar none. There is nothing mike could do that Lbj cannot duplicate except 1 on 1 D. I do think mike did the things he did better then lbj does, but the king does ish we never saw mike do. when u interject his sick passing/playmaking ability with his killer instinct on the open court, you can see that he is a more versatile, all around player. what can he not do?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Bike, I personally don’t think that LeBro……. Nevermind. Jono your Wack. Bron is a BEAST though. Straight Beast’n on mofo’s this year.

  • noah

    Co-sign bike and mooney10

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    LONG… LIVE… THE KING.

  • http://www.fullc0urtpress.com KHOLIDAY

    This Lebron disappearing in the clutch argument is getting really old, really fast. No one seems to remember what he did in the 4th against the Pistons when he was in Cleveland. Guess it’s that “what have you done for me lately” thing that erases performances like that… SMH

  • bull22

    here is my order of the best players in the game today (top three)
    excluding guys with rings because different arguement.
    tied for 1st derrick rose and kevin durant- because they dont whine and have actually grow with their teams.
    2nd-lebron james- why? teaming up with wade and bosh does not make you look like a man. had he stayed in cleveland he would be number 1.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    retarded.

  • Fat Lever

    23, no doubt, I’m here to present my POV and debate. I don’t take stuff on here too seriously. My stance on Lebron is that he has more than enough of the physical tools to be in the same breath as MJ, Magic, etc. It’s his mental makeup that needs tweaking. Not saying he can’t get there, just as of now, he isn’t there. KHOLIDAY, I honestly believe he balled out in ’07 because there was no pressure of a big 3 or anything like that. He was just out there playing ball with his team. A lot of this pressure on him now is self-inflicted and it looks like, to me, it’s affecting his game and decision making in “clutch” moments now.

  • El_Black_Mamba

    Wow!…Bull22 needs to be banned from this page…just straight dumb

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Everytime bull22 speaks I ask myself, “Is this real life?” LMAO, what a dork. I know I don’t need to do this, but we haven’t rehashed top players since the preseason SLAM Top 50. 1. Bron, 2. Kobe, 3. Chris Paul, 4. Kevin Durant, 5. Dwight Howard, 6. D-Wade, 7. Derrick Rose.

  • bull22

    yeah well all you lebron behind kissers are not going to agree and thats not a surprise. i put durant and rose at the top because iam taking character,accountability and loyalty into play, you can scratch 5 of those players off the list because they dont have these qualities. lebron is a quitter and dubious loser of two different finals with different teams.
    even if he wins a title, he will never get the respect that dirk got last year when he put the team and the city over his back and kicked these arrogant bums right in their arses…

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    you put Durant and Rose at the top because you have some kind of pathological hate for the use of reason.
    .
    “character, accountability, and loyalty” are personality traits, not things that separate one basketball player from another on the court.
    .
    Calling everyone that disagrees with you (which is everyone) a LeBron behind kisser just highlights your failure to comment with any sense of logical thought.

  • bull22

    @lakeshow, if you are so busy sweating me, get a life.. i don’t see you have muchto say after i told you the lakers were not going to win the title last year and what they got spanked. oh or remember this year i send they were no going no where, (just look at their record) oh no i dont know what iam talking about, the real nerd is you who is waiting for slam to tell you which
    the top players are, what a laugher.

  • bull22

    @nbk, that dr spock nonsense dont work on me bruh. if rose and durant were on the heat they would have similar successes.

  • LA Huey

    My rat terrier is higher on the food chain than a Siberian tiger. A dog is protective and loyal, whereas the tiger is a loner who cares for nothing but his own needs. I decided to value certain attributes over other more significant abilities because it supports my argument. Taj Gibson’s #1 fan is amusing if nothing else.

  • ai come back

    if character, accountability, and loyalty are what matters then if half the mj rumors are too he drops to number 10 on a top ten list (loyalty to his wife lmao)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Chubachuchi

    @bull22 come on man you have some type of disease. I think you can be one,two or all three of these things:
    First:a Bulls homer, serious slurper of the new generation of “humble superstars”, I think both cats are great but i wouldn’t rank them above Bron even though I’m very biased being from Chicago. Although I think Bron shrinks in clutch situations, he can do ANYTHING on the court, plain and simple.
    Second: You’re a hardcore Lebron hater who rode with the crowd after he did The Decision. You haven’t seen him play enough.
    Third: You’re 14 or younger/ You’re just retarded.

  • bull22

    @chubaka, no bruh been watching the game a long time. i respect dudes like dirk,derrick,durant and duncan who have literally taken on the challenge of taking a team from being a miserable franchise to being contenders again.
    and of course td and dirk put a grand finality on their careers by bringing their city their first title.. never seen you around here so i will leave it at that.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Chubachuchi

    Yeah because commenting on Slam everyday makes you all-knowing in basketball…I check Slam everyday for the news and i skim through the comments sometimes and somehow I always notice you’re not so smart comments.
    Anyway did you not know Cleveland was the sh*thole of sh*tholes before Lebron reinvigorated the jersey-burning city… You know, that’s how they got a high lottery pick(number 1 to be exact)in 2003.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    LA Huey FTW.

  • Matt Park

    ^And Lebron didn’t do that with Cleveland?? lmao

  • Matt Park

    comment at 7:12 directed at bull22

  • http://theurbangriot.com The NUPE

    I agree the character, accountability and loyalty matter. But I wouldn’t use that to determine who’s the best basketball player. If so, I would bump Rose down a few pegs based on character because he had someone else take his SAT’s for him. But pure basketball skill/versatility, I have to take Bron. I’m not sure what ‘scale’ is the right one to use with basketball ability, character, accountability, loyalty etc. are all taken into account. Whatever it’s called I’d probably have guys like Durant, Dirk, Nash at/near the top. But, that’s not the ‘best basketball scale’.

  • robb

    It’s so impressive how superior Lebron looks physically compared to the rest of the NBA players. Nobody has that combination of quickness, explosiveness, strength and vision. Blake may be more explosive, Dwight may be stronger, DRose may be quicker (or maybe not) and CP3 may have better court vision, but having all those attributes altogether, that’s just unfair. Dude is a damn beast. I’ve been thinking, maybe Lebron not having MJ’s or Kobe’s Killer instinct is nature’s way to even things out. Him being a killer would be just to much.

  • roybot

    LeBron has to get the ring. There should be nothing else on his mind. Until then he will be the most polarizing best player in the league. A player who dominates except when it matters.

  • hushabomb

    @Roybot, exactly. So what’s gonna happen if he ends up like Barkley or Stockton or Malone and not win a championship. He’ll be just another player who was immensely talented yet could never get over the hump

  • Just Sayin

    You gotta love SLAM debate. By the way bull22 I going to have to disagree with you. Rose and Durant over Lebron? ROOFLOOOOOOLLLLLLL LMAAAOOO. On what grounds bruh. Character and personality. LOOOOLLLL. Character or personality is not what gets these guys the big paychecks. I am not a big Lebron fan, but I can open my eyes enough to see what the guy has done in the league. Remember that game against the Magic where he dropped 51 points,dished out 8 assists AND grabbed 10 boards. What player has done the in league recently?

  • IamYou

    Yeah Lebron was magic against the jazz but haslem is no kareem!

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Its funny how everyone is giving Lebron MVP, when he is PLAYING WITH WADE at top 3 in NBA. Wade had 33 points and 10 assists and people act like he led the Cavs to victory. If I was the media, I would not give him anything. If Lebron wins MVP with Wade on his team, what does this say about WADE. WADE just hurt his career legacy now, were historians, will not understand how WADE career took a slip down, when Lebron suppose took over his city. Its funny how Wade hurts his legacy, Lebron hurts his legacy, but dumb media thinks he is playing ten times better, but has ten times better teammates. I can’t stand all of this Lebron, from Coach Spo hype. I would love to ask Coach Spo about Wade and why his career is starting to be overshadowed by LEbron. BOOK IT!!

  • l2ising Phoenix

    Bull22 is just a butthurt dude. He’s biased of every team/player except for his beloved bulls. @ bull22 .. you mad bro?

  • Justin G.

    Wow Seed, you really are an idiot. Who cares if Lebron wins while playing beside a great player? Jordan won while playing with Michael Jordan. Larry Bird won while playing with the greatest front line in history. Malone won while playing with one of the top 4 point guards EVER. Moses Malone won while playing with Dr. J. Shaq won while playing with Kobe. Need I go on?

  • Fat Lever

    Hahaha, bull22 acting like this is a match.com profile debate.

  • trueballer4life

    LBJ IS the best player in the game HE needs to assume the position an take the shot when the games on line hit or misss it dont matter thats what makes you great!

    kobe and jordan missed thousands of shots but thats what made them great! cause there not afraid to take the LAST shot with no fear!..

    play your game,if the games on line go clevland mode!

    HE FELL SHORT AGAIN HE ADMITTED HIMSELF ON TWITTER!

    Get it together come playoffs! the rings in your hands

  • IamYou

    So bull22 is officially retarded? I’ve got to watch his comment from now.. lol

  • IamYou

    @ Justin G I agree with you man.. no one has ever played by HIMself alone.. Lebron is great and might be next GOAt next to mj! It’s hard to admit for some and it’s very debatable but c’mon he needs someone great like wade to win a chip! like magic/kareem jordan/pippen, duncan/robinson, kobe/shaq so on and so forth.. And yeah sure when lebron was playing for the cavs I despise him(I was a miami (WADE) fan) I never acknowledge his “talents” but then he went to miami I was like I’m not sure about this.. but now I’m happy for both of them.

  • 23

    other than wades championship season, with shaq and many other very solid pieces, he has come up short every year! partly due to injuries, but still. without shaq and co. wade struggled mightily every postseason. lebron had more CONSISTENT team success than wade, before they joined forces. so i might get crucified, but i think that wade is ovverrated because of his ring. no doubt he is a baller. no doubt he is a scary opponent, and no doubt he has had tremendous individual and team success in his career. but i dont think i ever saw wade on lebrons level. and i dont think he ever will be. wade is a real good and smart dude. very marketable and likeable. which makes him the favorite over lebron to many fans

  • flash

    Dwade will be there when it counts, period.

  • Mega

    all these slamonline ‘regulars’ sure r high and mighty. They seem to always find a blatantly stupid post and proceed to attack the poster vehemently. They especially love it if the poster retaliates in a timely fashion. U guys dont need to post updated lists of the best players in the L, acording to SLAM, to prove a point. How about u just stfu and try to understand that any hoophead worth his weight in spaldings knows KD and rose aren’t better then Bron, yet. Although it is funny reading all these cats comments, everyone trying to show superior knowledge, while basically posting the same thing over and over.

  • IamYou

    ^ lol yeah so watch out what you say/type in the post, cause you don’t want to be “@” and be told that your comment is stupid or whatsoever..and of course Lebron is better than KD and rose everyone knows that but I don’t want to say it often cause it’s obvious and I don’t want to argue online cause it makes you weak and arrogant much, and yea I’m a big fan BUT NOT a nerdy “hey i’m not 13 year old I know it all screw the media” fan.

  • Just Sayin

    ^ what?

  • IamYou

    ^ yeah I stutter even in typing

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