I have never been so angry, frustrated, and disappointed in LeBron James. I have followed him from his seven years in Cleveland, defended him when he made his infamous ‘decision’, and loved him throughout his time at the Heat, but what he just put on the court against the Dallas Mavericks, in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, was nothing short of pathetic.
Miami Heat lost to Dallas Mavericks today 83-86, with Dwyane Wade playing a desperate game, never tiring and always trying to bail the Heat out of a bad offensive possession. LeBron James was quiet literally nowhere to be seen throughout the entire game, his main role was to bring the ball up the court, apart from that he disappeared on the offensive end. Shooting 3 from 11 from the field, with 9 rebounds and 7 assists in 46minutes, he was on the court the most out of anyone in the game, but to anyone watching it appeared he was on their the least.
I have a few criticisms of my hero, and hopefully he can rectify whatever it was that was clearly bothering him. Firstly, ‘wasting time’. Throughout the series I have noted that Dallas bring the ball up quickly, make a play, and rebound strongly on every offensive possession. Whereas, unless it is a fast-break, the Heat slowly bring it up (under pressure from Dallas guards) and either hold the ball or dribble it for 4-8seconds waiting for a play to be made or a screen to be set. There is no fluidity in their offense. LeBron was absolute horrible today for taking 6seconds to get it past halfway, then holding onto to it until there was 10 or 12seconds left on the shot clock. For god sake man, make a damn play, get into a set play or pick and roll quicker. Holding onto to it for 10-14seconds of the shot clock is not how you will win against Dallas.
The second thing that irritated me to no-end was ‘passing it off to someone else’. I got the impression that once LeBron had brought the ball up the court, he did not want to create a play or drive past the defender. Instead, he passed it off to someone on the flank, and went and stood, I repeat stood, in the corner. It was as if he was saying “here you go Wade (or Chalmers), it’s not my problem anymore!” That is not good enough, that is not what a ‘champion’ does, especially in the fourth quarter. If you must go stand in the corner LeBron, at least fight to get in front of your opponent to simulate a post-up? That way you can be used, or the centre (Chandler) will be more conscious and defend the area around your post.
The last point I have to make is ‘looking for your shot’. LeBron you have made clutch plays and dominated the ball all-throughout your career. You have been the go to man, the person who takes bail out shots, and you have been successful at it. For the love of God, why weren’t you looking for your own shot in Game 4? Why did I say every time you got the ball in the offense “don’t worry about defending him Dallas, depend the passing lane because he is only going to pass it”. And if you do not believe me, go back and watch the game again, watch the fourth quarter and then do not tell him he gave up on possessions by offloading the responsibility.
All throughout LeBron James’ career he has been the mismatch for other teams, they have struggled to find a defender with his strength, speed and ability. In Game 5, I hope I see LBJ posting up Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, he has so many advantages over those two, however great defenders they may be, use your ability and stop offloading the responsibility. Take it on with Wade, match Wade and Bosh’s intensity and determination. Or else, you will lose, and you will lose 4-2.