LeBron Fails to Take Over, Win Championship, Silence Critics

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There are no excuses or explanations this time.  No more pawning the losses off on teammates.  Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Udonis Haslem are more than enough – especially when you are LeBron James.  He is undoubtedly one of the most physically gifted athletes in the sport, perhaps all sports.  He has played and honed his game at the highest level for seven years.  He even showed that he was fully capable of taking over games against Boston and Chicago – both favored to beat the Heat.  But in the NBA Finals, he was a shell of the player he was in the rest of the NBA Playoffs . . . even the regular season.  The end result was a crushing loss that sent LeBron James and the Miami Heat walking off their home court losers in the NBA Finals.

There is some credit due to the Dallas defense, that kept both Wade and James out of the paint and off the free throw line.  There is some blame to be passed on to the refs, who allowed excessive physical contact at the rim (advantage jump shooting team), almost as if they were “making up” for the 2006 NBA Finals.  There is some chagrin to be directed at Eric Spoelstra, who was unable to come up with a plan against Dallas’s defense.  Ultimately, the blame comes down on James.  He is the most talented.  He is the biggest, strongest, fastest one.  And if he had played as he did in the previous two series, the Heat could very likely be champions this morning.  Unlike the prior two series, LeBron did not drive with reckless abandon.  He did not hit jumpers in the fourth quarter.  He continued to pass the ball in situations that demanded he create a high percentage shot for himself or a teammate.  His play during the series has been so baffling, that whenever he caught the ball in the 3rd and 4th quarters of last night’s game, you could hear the crowd screaming in unison “GO.”  They were pleading James to attack.  When he did, he scored, or good things happened.  But he spent too much time hanging around the perimeter, too much time snapping passes to someone else on the perimeter, and not enough time driving to the rim – driving like he did in the previous two series.

Everything James has done over the past year, leaving Cleveland, the Decision, putting aside the title of being “the man” on his own team has been done under the banner of winning – and without winning it all, LeBron will never be free of criticism.  He hasn’t done anything this year that he did not do with Cleveland at some point in his career there (unless you count two Finals wins).  The sense of deja-vu is palpable, right down to the promises to do better next year.

I’ve been in this league eight years. There’s no distractions that can stop me from trying to chase an NBA championship. Not you guys, not anything that goes on that’s not focused on my team and my teammates and what we’re out there — what we’re out set to do. Like I said before, I work hard to try to put myself in position to play at a high level. When you go out on the court, does the ball always go in? Absolutely not. But the one thing I know, I never hold my head low in saying, I didn’t do it the right way or I wish I would have did this. It’s not about that.

I put a lot of hard work into this season individually. We all did. So we have nothing to hang our heads low. Just use this as an extra motivation to help myself become a better player for next year.

And so the cycle begins again, and we prescribe the same cures to LeBron James once more.  Learn how to play in the post.  Get a consistent jump shot – not a streaky one.  Stop playing solely from the perimeter.  And play with the same abandon against every defense and every team through every series.  Until LeBron James learns how to do these things, we will be revisiting this topic year after year – regardless of the uniform on his chest, or the players at his side.  He is after all, too good at basketball.  He’s so good that anything short of a championship is labeled as failure by fans, haters, and the impartial alike.

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8 Responses to “LeBron Fails to Take Over, Win Championship, Silence Critics”

  1. Blockhead Dan Says:

    According to Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com, the Heat outscored the Mavs by 22 when James was on the bench. With James in the game they were outscored by 36. It’s never as simple as one man, but when you see a breakdown like that you begin to build a case for an exception.

    • pmadavi Says:

      ESPN has him at -24 for the game. Pretty abysmal. The way he got it done against Boston and Chicago, it’s pretty much inexcusable that he shrank so thoroughly in the Finals. Yes, he played defense, yes he rebounded and passed well. But it’s not about the stats at that point. It’s about imposing his will, his dominance, about making the other team lose hope. That’s what Dallas did to Heat and they did it as thoroughly as the Heat did it to Boston and Chicago.

      In all my criticism, I want to make sure I take nothing away from Dallas. They played amazing basketball as Playoffs long, and getting help from everyone on their team, looked like the true Champions last night.

  2. Blockhead Dan Says:

    I should clarify, the stats I used were for the _series_.

  3. High Above Courtside Says:

    Me, I still have the same miserable life I had before the Heat lost to the Mav’s.

    LeBron doesn’t and never has cared about winng, he only cares about himself. ” I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want with me and my family and be happy with that.”

    ‘Childish and ignorant’

    Add delusional to it as well.

    • pmadavi Says:

      That stuff doesn’t matter. And it shouldn’t make a difference how you feel about him. He may be delusional (I think most people with that kind of fame and money are to some degree) and childish and ignorant. But he’s not nefarious. He’s not evil. He’s just looking out for himself and his family and friends. I’d hide it better, if that were me up there, but that’s how I’d behave too, in reality. It’s how we all would. LeBron is just terrible at explaining and got too much too soon too easily.

      What SHOULD matter is what he does on the court. And there was no more damning evidence of the emotional/mental lows he is capable of than this series. It’s a huge flaw in his game, and seriously hurts his teams and what his legacy will be . . . if he cannot overcome it very soon.

  4. High Above Courtside Says:

    This is where he is delusional—-he either can’t or won’t recognize the flaws in his game. Wade has that kind of fame and money–but I wouldn’t call him delusional. Taking shots at the peple who ultimately pay his checks makes him look like an ass—-not talking to ESPN after the game because he blames them for the decision—-delusional.

    He just need a team with better talent and he’ll be ok

  5. pmadavi Says:

    He needs to go out in the desert and smoke some peyote with Phil Jackson.

    I am not joking.

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