Five ways LeBron beats Pacers

James can dominate a team like no other player in the NBA, just ask Indiana

Updated: May 15, 2012, 1:07 PM ET
By Chris Palmer | ESPN the Magazine
LeBron JamesMarc Serota/Getty ImagesLeBron James dominated the Pacers' Danny Granger in Game 1 and during the regular season.

The Pacers have their work cut out for them. Stop LeBron James, stop the Miami Heat. Luckily for Miami, James can cause more problems for Indiana than the Pacers can keep track of. Here are five ways he can beat the Pacers.

1. In transition

James is a dual threat in the open court, one of those rare talents who's equally adept at igniting the break and finishing it. James leads all players in the playoffs with 5.7 fast-break points per game. In other words a significant 21 percent of his points come in transition. His combination of size and speed makes backpedaling Pacers defenders reluctant to draw charges, often reasoning that the impact with his 260-pound body isn't worth the two points they're trying to save.

Here's what makes James ultra-effective: As soon as he grabs a defensive board, his eyes turn up court and he quickly scans the lanes to find potential spot-up shooters. He's also looking for gaps in the defense. As he smartly pushes up the middle of the court to keep the floor balanced his head is always up. James will generally give the ball up just after crossing midcourt, leaving enough time to get it back should the defense commit to a shooter on the wing. But if he crosses half court and spots a driving lane, his next three steps can propel him to top speed almost instantaneously, forcing the defender to foul or otherwise end up on a poster.

Chris Palmer

ESPN the Magazine