Found December 26, 2011 on Fox Sports Florida:
Picimg_nba_mar_10_ff5f
Even after drubbing Dallas on Sunday, the mood in the Miami locker room was hardly one of celebration. So it was mentioned to a straight-faced LeBron James that he didn't seem too happy. "I'm good. I'm good," James insisted. So James says that. But everybody knows James truly won't be happy until he's hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Eight seasons have passed in James' career and he still doesn't have a ring. For years, it was noted Michael Jordan didn't win a championship until his seventh season. Well, James is past that. Even another superstar much maligned for not winning titles _ Wilt Chamberlain _ got his first of two in his eighth year. But James now is a clearly a small forward with a big task in mind. His performance in the 105-94 win in the regular-season opener at defending champion Dallas was downright dominating. In 36 minutes, James had 37 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. "We're a focused bunch," James said of his Heat, who clearly have more important things in mind than winning a regular-season game, even if it's over the team that ousted them from last June's Finals. "We want to try to be business-like and approach every game like it's our last." James' next final game is Tuesday's home opener against Boston, another team that has proved a roadblock in his quest for a ring. When he was with Cleveland, the Cavaliers lost to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals in 2008 and 2010. But whatever team is on the schedule this season, you get the idea it might not matter. James seems as determined as ever to take care of the only missing entry on his resume. After Miami had last season come to an end with a loss to the Mavericks in Game 6 of the Finals on June 12, James admits he was in a zombie-like state until around the start of July, saying, "I beat myself up." He eventually was able to pick himself up off the canvas. "You can never let it go all the way," James said of the Finals, one in which he regularly struggled late in the fourth quarter of close games. "I was in a hole for at least two or three weeks. And, after that, doing absolutely nothing and talking to absolutely nobody. Just moping around. (James finally realized) it's time to get back up and start to get better and work on my craft. Studying the game. Studying the Finals. Studying the whole playoffs and seeing ways I can help myself get better as an individual player, which will help our team." It was the longest offseason of James' life, literally and figuratively. A lockout pushed the start of the regular season back nearly two months. The season will be sardined into 66 games over four months. But James, once he shook off his Finals funk, used the offseason to get better. He paid a visit to Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon to gain some wisdom on playing in the post. And he showed plenty of that off Sunday. "He spent a great deal of time in the offseason on his own, working on that game," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. "It allows us to add another dimension of inside-out and still able to play to some other strengths." The Heat also has stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. But if they are to win the title this season, much of it will fall on the shoulders of James. Wade has twice been named to the All-NBA first team and was Finals MVP when the Heat won it all in 2006. But even Wade sometimes can get in a mesmerizing mode when talking about the awesome talent of the 6-foot-8 James. "LeBron has now become very good at that pull-up," Wade said of James also having improved his mid-range game during the offseason. "He can be even be more effective than me with his height, with his jumping ability." James is a two-time MVP. He's won a scoring title, and his 27.7 average is the third-highest in NBA history. But can James be even better this season? He seems to think so. "Me as a competitor, I never like to return to a season the same player as last year or the year before," he said. "I can't afford to come back and not be a better player or dwell on what happened (in last season's Finals). It's time for me to get better." And there's still time for James to turn his reputation into one of a champion. If he wins a ring this season, it would be at 27. That still would be one year younger than when Jordan, who played three years of college ball to James' none, claimed his first. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter@christomasson
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

LeBron's 37 helps Heat over Mavericks

DALLAS (AP) -- LeBron James had 37 points, 10 rebounds and six assists as the Miami Heat got a measure of payback for the NBA finals by opening this season with a 105-94 victory over the Dallas Mavericks that wasn't as close as the score suggests. Maybe the pregame banner-raising ceremony left the Mavs emotionally drained or -- more likely -- the overhaul of their roster is...

LeBron carries Heat past Mavericks

LeBron James and the Miami Heat couldn't keep the Dallas Mavericks from winning the most recent NBA championship. They did a nice job, however, of getting the Mavs' title defense off to an ugly start. James had 37 points, 10 rebounds and six assists as the Heat beat the Mavericks 105-94 Sunday in a game that was hardly ever as close as the final score might suggest. Maybe...

Heat get revenge, run to victory over Mavs

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images LeBron James finishes at the rim in the Heat's 105-94 win over Dallas. The Miami Heat left no doubt that they intend to bring a championship trophy to South Beach this season, dominating the Dallas Mavericks in a rematch from last year’s NBA Finals from start to finish with a convincing 105-94 victory at the American Airlines Center. Dallas...

Kevin Harlan introduces us to Metta World Peace

Kevin Harlan has had some very notable calls over the course of his broadcasting career, especially the "With no regard for human life" call of LeBron James' slam dunk over Kevin Garnett in the 2007 NBA Playoffs. Last night he dropped another gem during the Lakers-Jazz broadcast. Metta... World... PEACE!

Heat 105, Mavericks 94: Mavericks Humbled by Heat in Season Opener

LeBron James scored 37 points and Dwyane Wade had 26 as the Heat put on a devastating show of dunks and defense, routing the defending champion Mavericks.

Eastern Conference Preview: Heat remains a cut above rivals

Well, it wasn't exactly divine. Twenty-nine NBA teams were supposed to bow at the feet of Miami's LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

NBA is Back. Lebron Delivers Coal While Carmelo Brings Joy

Stocking Stuffer of NBA Games
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.