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Adrian Wojnarowski on D&C: LeBron James’ playoff disappearance ‘not going to happen again’

06.08.12 at 1:06 pm ET
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Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski joined Dennis & Callahan Friday morning to discuss the Celtics’ Game 6 loss to the Heat, and the incredible performance by LeBron James. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

While LeBron has been criticized for not making enough of an impact in crucial playoff games, he silenced the critics Thursday night, something Wojnarowski said he expects to happen more often now.

“He can summon that and you’ve seen it before,” he said. “You will probably see it again Saturday night. I don’t know if you will see 45 points on Saturday night but I he has had moments in the past in big games where he has played great in Game 7s. You saw him and [Paul] Pierce have that duel back in Cleveland and Boston was the better team then. He has got the better team now.

“There have been moments where he just isn’t engaged. You saw it in Game 5 against Boston in his last season at Cleveland and then obviously last year in the finals. People wait to see that happen again and it’s not going to happen again.”

Wojnarowski attributed the performance to the increased maturity of James, something that has changed since his days in Cleveland.

“He didn’t come out last night and say, ‘Hey, I got fueled the last two days by what everyone said.’ He didn’t do that. He said, ‘Listen, I just went back to how I play and how I built my game.’ I thought his answer was – I really think he matured mentally … He always looked more frenetic when he was younger and not at peace. [Now he is] more mature,” Wojnarowski said. “When you would see him bouncing around in Cleveland, around the locker room, you don’t see that anymore.”

However, despite last night’s performance, Wojnarowski does not think that his bad reputation in the playoffs has gone away yet.

“I don’t think if he wins [Game 7] it all washes off of him. I don’t care if they win by two, or 10, or five or 15. This all goes away if he wins the championship,” he said. “It won’t matter how many they win by.”

Wojnarowski added his thoughts about Eric Spoelstra’s job security in the incident that the Heat lose Game 7 to the Celtics.

“In my mind I really wonder how could he survive not getting out of the conference finals. But here is the one thing: he is Pat Riley’s guy,” said. “Pat has never wanted to hire a coach from the outside. When Miami wins, Pat wants the credit. That is important to him. He is not going to do what Jerry West did which was bring in Kobe [Bryant], bring in [Shaquille O’Neal], fail a couple times, and then when I bring in Phil [Jackson], win and Phil gets all the credit. Credit is important to Riley and he wants it done the Heat way, which is the Riley way.”

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