May 3, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) during the first half of game three in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
James is winning the award for the third time in four seasons. Only seven other players - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone - have at least three MVP trophies.
The Indiana Pacers have to do a lot of things right to be the Heat, but nothing they aren't capable of doing. Defend, take care of the ball and hit at least an average amount of shots and they should be in position to win every game. The only concern with that plan is the ability of LeBron to thrown an otherworldly game in the mix that will render anything the Pacers try to do meaningless.
I figure LBJ will have at least one of those "too good" games. My other concern involving James is if the Heat go small and let him play power forward. That worked quite well earlier in the season against the Pacers because while it appears to favor the Pacers with a size advantage, forcing David West or Tyler Hansbrough to guard James just doesn't work well. The Knicks really proved that when they had Carmelo Anthony playing that role in the back-to-back losses they put the Pacers through which preceded the strong run through the remainder of the season for Indiana.
Of course the Pacers can counter, but "going small" with James at power forward at 260 pounds then gives the Heat another advantage. So it goes back to the Pacers executing and staying with their game plan to do what they do well. But first they'll have to watch LeBron accept another MVP trophy in front of the home crowd.