Watching LeBron James suplex the Bulls last night felt like bumping into an old friend. He does this at least once every postseason, but the first big LeBron Game of the summer is always a pleasant reminder of just what the greatest player in the world is really capable of. Hey guys, LeBron is here, and he’s gonna win this game all by himself! He brought beer! Good to see you, man!
For last night’s grand finale, James dusted off a stunner that we’ve been seeing less of over the last few seasons: the chasedown block. During the prime years of his first stint in Cleveland, the LeBron James Chasedown Block became a legitimate cultural phenomenon. The chance at seeing one became one of the best reasons to tune into a Cavs game, much the same way a potential Kanye cameo is a good enough reason to go to a Drake show.
After a few seasons spent routinely embarrassing people on the break, the well dried up a bit. Players in the open court started anticipating James bearing down on them, and took steps to prevent themselves from being punked. LeBron blocked 251 shots during his last three years in Cleveland, but only 167 during his first three in Miami, and the allure of the chasedown block began to fade a bit.
But there it was again last night, during the most critical moment of the game! There was Derrick Rose, side-stepping a stiff-legged Matthew Dellavedova and lofting up what he very likely assumed was the game-tying layup. And there was LeBron James, hunting the play from mid-court, swallowing both Rose and Dellavedova with his shadow, and dispatching with the shot like he was flicking away a bothersome bug. It was vintage LeBron, and it was great to see him.