Phil Jackson Believes LeBron James Has To Channel His Inner Michael Jordan
Legendary coach Phil Jackson, who coached the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships as well as the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships, believes that the Cleveland Cavaliers are not done and that it’s up to LeBron James to take it to another notch. Jackson believes it will take a Jordan-esque performance, and cited something that happened with Jordan 23 years ago.
Jackson referred to a New York Times article which negatively criticized Jordan for going out to an Atlantic City casino during an off day in the Eastern Conference Finals that saw his Bulls trailing 0-2. After the article was out, Jordan came back with 32.2 points in the next four games, all Chicago victories, and eliminated the Knicks.
“It did something to Michael Jordan. You learned something about pulling the cape of Superman. It’s not a good idea. He was a man possessed after that,” Jackson said at the Chelsea event sponsored by American Express. “I think it’s going to take something for LeBron to step into that. Put his cape on and say, “I’m going to have to take over a lot of this series, doing the things beyond my level or my normal capacity.’ He’s been a team player up until this point but I think he’s going to have to step beyond that.”
LeBron James wasn’t overly passive in Games 1 and 2, but his teammates offered absolutely no help. In Game 1, James had 23 points on 9-21 shooting while Irving had 26 points on a poor 7-22 shooting effort and Love had 17 points on 7-17 shooting. Game 2 was even worse, as James had just 19 points on 7-17 shooting, but added eight rebounds and nine assists. His teammates were a no-show, as Irving scored 10 points on 5-14 shooting and the only other player in double figures was Richard Jefferson with 12 points off the bench.
Clearly, James is going to have to take it upon himself if the Cavs want any chance at beating this team in Game 3.