As our friends down below know, LeBron James hasn’t been playing every game down the stretch for the Miami Heat. This is, quite obviously, a huge deal for the team, since that’s a whole lot of MVP production they need to replace.
And while throwing up an extra 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists isn’t the easiest thing in the world, some members of the Heat have found a way to keep things as LeBron-y as possible in his absence. From the Palm Beach Post:
LeBron James has left the powder toss behind.
These days — on the nights he plays — he waits out warmups on the midcourt line, intensely staring at the floor.
Over the past few weeks, however, four of his teammates have resurrected his ritual, tossing the powder together as they gather underneath.
“I think it was mostly J.J.,” Ray Allen said of James Jones.
“We just started doing it,” Jones said, also referring to Mike Miller and Rashard Lewis. “I had never used it. Nothing special.”
“It’s part of the routine now,” Lewis said.
Smart thinking, Heat shooters. Not only does this continued powder tossing ensure that the Heat’s scorer’s table will remain bathed in the finest talcum known to man, it also helps their teammates remember what they’re up against. Because at this point, two-and-a-half seasons in to LeBron’s Miami vacation, they probably need to see that plume of powder smoke (or whatever) over on the sidelines to really know when it’s time to play.
Athletes are creatures of habit — especially Ray Allen — so it’s probably a Pavlovian response for some of these guys. See powder, play ball. Without it, they might be totally lost.
So good on ya, other Heat. If all it takes to maintain focus during a months-long season where the final few games mean absolutely nothing to your team is a little bit of powder tossing, then you’ve done a really good job of finding a solution to this problem. May the powder be always in your favor.