Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said Saturday he was inspired by watching James and Wade combine for 65 points in the Heat's win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of the NBA finals. Kane said he hoped to duplicate such a performance when he took the ice in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins on Saturday night. The Blackhawks hold a 1-0 series advantage on the Bruins.
"We're playing on different nights, and you can watch and see how players step up in big games in that sport," the 24-year-old Kane said after Saturday's morning skate at the United Center. "You saw it with Game 4 last game. Wade and LeBron had huge games. You see something like that, and you want to do it, too."
Even at the risk of upsetting some Chicago Bulls' fans, Kane hasn't kept it a secret that he's a fan of James. Blackhawks teammate Patrick Sharp joked in March that Kane appeared nervous before they met James prior to a Heat-Bulls game in Chicago.
"Even last year, I was a real big fan of LeBron," Kane said in March. "I felt everyone was hating on him, and he was kind of a guy that I was just waiting for to prove the critics wrong and shut them all up. I guess that's why you maybe take a liking to an athlete. And he's just a physical freak, unbelievable what he's done in his career."
Kane continued to show that support for James prior to the Stanley Cup finals.
"Yeah, I'm rooting for him to win," Kane said of James at Stanley Cup finals media day on Tuesday.
Kane and James exchanged congratulatory tweets in March while their respective teams were putting together record streaks. The Blackhawks set a NHL-record by recording a point in 24 consecutive games to start the season. The Heat finished with a 27-game winning streak, which was the second longest in NBA history.
"Hey Chicago Blackhawks, u guys are AWESOME!! #streaking," James tweeted after the Blackhawks extended their streak to 24 games on March 6.
Patrick Kane tweeted back to James: "Back at you LeBron. Keep rolling."
Kane has become known as a big-game player himself. He recently scored three goals, including a game-winner in double-overtime, to defeat the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals and send the Blackhawks into the Stanley Cup finals. He also scored the game-winner to clinch the Stanley Cup for the Blackhawks in 2010.
Kane said Saturday he hoped to continue that reputation.
"That's kind of where I'm best suited to help my team is when I have the puck and making plays," said Kane, who has six goals and eight assists in 18 playoff games this season. "For whatever reason, I've been pretty good in those situations where I guess you could call them clutch situations or whatever. It's something people talk about, and you want to keep that rep that you can keep stepping up in big games. I think these are the biggest of the year right now. Obviously you want to do it again."