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Doug Benc

If you watched the fourth quarter and overtime last night, I know you are a fan again.

At moments like that the NBA is irresistible. Everybody on this board has endured seven years of crap just because we dream that maybe one day we will have that moment when Ray Allen is repping our city and we are on the edge of our seats for that last second shot.

It was special that Ray was the one to hit that shot. He's been pretty well written off but he picks his moments with perfect strategy and always finds his way to contribute. Guys like him and Mike Miller are just great competitors no matter how worn down their body starts to become.

Is LeBron a great competitor?

He sure as hell was during the fourth quarter and overtime last night.

His run predictably came just after I slammed him on twitter for disappearing in the third. I referred to him as deferential and made the inevitable comparison that Michael Jordan never disappeared for quarters during an NBA Finals series.

For the most part I think that people who consider the Jordan/Bird/Magic/Barkley era players to be far superior to the current crop are just overly nostalgic. Sure they were great but the size and athleticism up and down NBA rosters right now is incredible and I think many players from the 80's and 90's would have struggled to adjust to the restrictiveness and inconsistency of modern officiating, the complexity of the coaching media environment and the bruising physical play that come from having bigger, stronger players on the floor at all times.

When I compare LeBron James to the greatest of all time I think that physically he is the best ever. His combination of size, speed and agility is just a superior package and I cannot imagine how to guard somebody so strong and powerful, but equally able to put the ball down on the floor like he does. He works hard, plays defense, involves all his teammates and does the little things that other dominant players often skip, relying on their physical superiority.

Yet he disappears.

I don't know what to make of LeBron James. I see a guy who has every tool; both mental and physical to be the best of all time. I see a guy who led his team to a gutty comeback win with a triple double, leading his team in virtually every statistical category. Despite all that I wonder why. If he is so capable of taking over a game at will, why did he disappear in the third quarter, failing to make a shot and scoring only 4 points on free throws?

This series seems like a microcosm of LeBron James' entire career.

What does it say about him?