Enjoy that dunk for its power. The dunk is full of so many of LeBron James’ gifts — handles, speed, strength that all come together in an almost unfair package. It is one of the big highlights from the Heat’s opening night win over Boston.
But watch that dunk again and see that Ray Allen should get a silent assist for creating the lane for LeBron James to run down. Tom Haberstroh broke it down brilliantly at ESPN’s Heat Index (as he often does).
First Chris Bosh blocks Jeff Green (after a fantastic preseason Green went back to looking like Green) and the ball gets to LeBron who starts pushing up the court. Now notice Allen, who is ahead of the pack and starts running to the corner — where he is deadly, as Boston knows from first hand experience, and where he has already drained a three in the game. Watch Celtics defenders Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett get caught hesitating on getting to Allen or stopping LeBron.
“He was in front of KG and Paul (Pierce),” James said. “And I just kind of gave it a little hesitation because I knew for the most part, they were going to run right to him.”
Allen knew what to do. As soon as James slowed his dribble, Allen darted toward the corner.
“You make a hard sharp cut,” Allen said. “It’s the same stuff I did in Boston, but when you’ve got a guy like LeBron barreling down the lane like that … I always ask myself, which direction are they going to go in? Are they going to go to me? Or are they going to go to him?”
They really did neither, they hesitated and got confused and in that instant LeBron turned on the jets and when he has a head of steam coming down the lane it’s only a question of how much pain he is going to inflict on the rim. The play is over. And it was. And Garnett was frustrated afterwards.
But that’s one of the things Ray Allen can do for you. And will do for the Heat all season.