Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 11/15/14
While America waits for LeBron James to close out the Pacers with a "clutch" last-second shot, Larry Bird fears James finished the Pacers in the first three quarters of Game 4. That is not a typographical error. Yes, Bird, the Pacers' president, called out his team for being "soft" in the aftermath of the Heat's 32-point, flagrant-foul-stamped bullying of Indiana in Game 5. But Bird knows the retaliatory cheap shots delivered by Udonis Haslem and Dexter Pittman didn't punk the Pacers Tuesday night. Bird fears James stole their heart 48 hours earlier with the kind of relentless, virtuosic performance that is the true hallmark of an NBA all-time great. A superstar, a legitimate legend, can close out/irreversibly demoralize an opponent at any time during an NBA game and/or playoff series. The skills are not mutually exclusive, but there is a significant difference between being a guy who loves to take the big, last-second shot (Robert Horry, Reggie Miller, Chauncey Billups) and a gu...
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