LeBron James, Dwane Casey cross paths again


Dwane Casey earned a lot of praise during an improbable post-season run with Dallas in 2011, an historic time in Big D that would end with the franchise's first NBA title.

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On the biggest stage the NBA has to offer, the Mavs basically denied the Heat the paint in the final, forcing Miami to beat Dallas from the outside.

The Mavs would overcome a 2-1 series deficit, closing out the final by winning on Miami's home floor.

LeBron James, as is the nature of any superstar, received much flak for his inability to step up in crunch time. The Mavs, for the most part, made life miserable for King James.

It was Casey's defensive schemes and his defence-first mentality that would draw the Raptors to Casey in the wake of the Mavs' championship.

"He's changed his game from the time we played him back in the championship,'' Casey said of James, who made his second and final visit to the ACC Wednesday night. "At that time you can take a few things away from him, you could double-team him a little bit more, force him one way.

"But now he's so cerebral, a lot like Michael Jordan became as he got older. He (James) thinks the game now, seen everything, he's experienced everything and that's what this league is about. It's about going through it and he's been through it. Any time you throw something at him, you may get him the first time, but the second and third time he's going to figure it out. He's a computer, such a great passer and a willing passer that it's hard to contain him or control him."

James entered Wednesday's tip having surpassed one-time Heat teammate Ray Allen for 21st place on the NBA's career scoring list, his milestone moment produced Tuesday night in a blowout win over visiting Boston.

Up next for James is Patrick Ewing, who sits at the No. 20 slot (24,815).

Entering play Wednesday, James had scored 24,508 NBA points, sixth among active players.

He's a four-time league MVP and once again is in the conversation for the award, with the likes of Steph Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

But it's championships that define players of James' ilk.

And when the post-season arrives, the Cavs will be the team to beat in the East.

James did lead the Cavs to an appearance in the NBA final back in his early days, getting swept by the Spurs in what essentially was a one-man performance against a seasoned San Antonio side.

Barring injury or some coaching blunder, this year's Cavs have all the necessary ingredients to make it to the final.


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