I'm going to be on semi-FD leave this week. Look for a couple of guest posts and links to the Longforms I'll be doing between now and then.
However, I would be a knave if I didn't pause from my life to mention LeBron. That performance last night was what we'd been waiting for, what he couldn't do against Detroit last season, and why people like me still swear by his talent. What makes LeBron such an earth-stopper is that we expect nothing less than a ready-made string of MOMENTS. A LeBron highlight reel isn't isolated instances, but a summation of well-rounded dominance. For LeBron, big plays aren't the peak of his excellence; they're its bedrock, the basic units from which all conclusions follow. He doesn't rattle off occasional flash, he makes extraordinary basketball plays out of habit. Like "all he catches is touchdowns" on a massive scale.
At the same time, that game three damns even further his '07 playoffs showings up to this point. That was full-fledged LeBron, not a man playing past his limitations or shredding his own likeness. Jaw-dropping, mind-expanding feats are his meat and potatoes, his fundamentals, and without them he's only half-there. Or, more grimly, he's got no version of himself that relies on efficiency or effectiveness above all else. If LeBron isn't astounding, he's lost. Likewise, if we aren't astounded by him, we have every reason to question what's going on. It is indeed a problematic, maybe even fatal, merger of style and substance—one that can pay monstrous dividends for everyone gathered around the NBA's frothy campfire, or threaten to blot out an entire playoffs with its shade.