Last night's game was another example of what we will hopefully get to see for the next decade. Once again, America's darling Durant came up big in the cluth, he has the clutch gene, he has the ability to take over the game whenever he wants. Plain and simple, it doesn't matter how great defense you play on him, he's just too tall and lanky. Last night D-Wade tried to man up Durant, he was bodying him up, giving him zero breathing room, but it was sort of sad watching him try because the fact of teh matter is that Durant is about 6'11 and D-Wade is 6'4. He is just too long and his release point is too high. He has such a silky smooth array of moves, it's ridiculous. The reason Lebron can't do in the clutch what Durant does is simple: he doesn't have a bread and butter go-to move. He doesn't have a move that he's perfected that he can drop in on any given time. It's like going to a resturaunt, and you ask Durant what's the days specials, he'd tell you a one dribble half-pullup-half floater from about 10 feet where he rises over the defense, and some down screen action for any open shot between 15 and 25 feet. With Lebron, he doesn't have anything in his game that's extra special or that he could do at anygiven time. When he's feeling it he can hit a variety of fadeaway jumpshots, he has a nice move where he spins to the basket and makes a 7 foot fadeaway off the glass, and he can just put his head down and take it to the rack. But nothing he can get when the defense tightens and the pressure quadruples.
For the last year I've been telling everyone to wait, and that sooner or later Lebron will realize that he just needs to stop thinking and do what he does, and he will take over games, but I'm starting to think that no longer remains a possibility, but rather a fantasy, that will never come true. He is not a good jumpshooter. In game 7 against Boston and Game 1 last night he is a combined 3-24 on jumpshots. He went into the twilight zone in Game 6, but jumpshooting is just not his game. He needs to get in the low post, not the high post, he needs to demand the ball and at the worst get to the line where he can go 15-20. even that is good enough.
But the one takeaway from last night that I was upset and apalled at Lebron for was the fact that he didn't guard Durant, instead he let old man Battier and Wade take him. I could understand him splitting with Battier, but there is no excuse for Lebron to jut stand there and let Wade take a guy 7 inches taller than him with a 7'6 wingspan. Lebron is the biggest physical speciman on the planet, there is no excuse why he shouldn't guard Lebron for even a quarter of the game. Durant on the other hand guarded Lebron for most of the game, and while Lebron had the numbers, he was able to get Lebron to shoot jumpshots and fadeaways, which is best case scenario for guarding him.
But the other glaring fact is that Lebron has little help. Yes Battier adn Chalmers were huge last night, but they ombined for just 6 points in the first half. Chris Bosh thinks he's Ray Allen all of a sudden(I've been there before, it's a thing where you think you're the best shooter in the world and even when they're not falling you tell youself you can still make them, someone needs to snap him out of this). But D-Wade didn't give him much either, 19 points on 19 shots, not a recipe for success. Now we do know he is hurting, he got his knee drained last week and they say that it's really bad, however without D-Wade being himself and inconsistency from the other role players, Lebron is on his own for now, he's gonna need about 35 a game + decent production from others if they want any shot of winning this series.
And I actually like OKC's strategy in the first half, let Battier and Chalmers try to beat you, the problem was that their rotations were just horrrid, they fixed that up and came back strong.
I loved Russell Westbrook's decision making, sure the midrange jumpers with 21 seconds on the clock(not the ones in transition) need to go, but he did a great job of getting to the rim, getting his teamates involved, and limiting his turnovers.
Harden was quiet as the Thunder wanted Sefelosha in for Defense, but I expect him to have at least one game where he goes off this series, when he's on the floor with Durant and Westbrook, he has a matchup advantage, and will be able to get to teh rim with ease, and with no Joel Anthony or Turiaf back there, the lane is going to be wide open. The thing many people forget is that when Lebron guarded D-Rose in last year's conference finals, D-Rose wasn't scared of Lebron, he was scared of the help, Anthony was just waitng for him, and Noah alibeit a decent midrange game, didn't present much of an offensive threat, he was abel to prevent D-Rose from penetrating the paint, which allowed Lebron to put at much pressure on him as he wanted.
Overall, Durant had his way in the 4th quarter, it's time for Lebron to respond, the Heat need game 2, they can't come back to OKC down 3-2 if they want to win, because I have the Heat winning 2 of 3 at home, but expecting any consistent prodution outside of Lebron is a stretch.
Why is almost everything you post a thesis paper? You need a site which summarizes all your posts.
I'll be sure to include a summary in every post specially for ZachB, lol.
LeBron dominates the game from quarters 1-3 cuz he is so physically dominate with the skill but his overall nature is to fit in. And then late in games people want him to not fit in and be a triple double machine and just focuse everything on him. Its a hard switch
He just doesn't have a killer instinct. You can't be taught that. You either have it or you don't. He is just too good of a person.
I think he just isn't a pure scorer. He can take over games as a scorer, but he doesn't if he isn't feeling it. He isn't in gunner mode all the time. He can't just score at anytime like Durant can.
He didn't play poorly in the 4th, he just didn't raise his game. The Thunder played better defense, so he didn't score as much.
never understood how all the heat's losses are on Lebron. He's their best player and he should take over more in the 4th quarter, but clearly Wade and Bosh played like bums. Lebron can't score 40+ everynight against this thunder team, no one can. Its time for WADE AND BOSH to respond.
yeah but sometimes he absolutely murders teams in the 1st half...alot of times he is locked in for 3 quarters. I would have to say is a focus or mental block issue. right now, he just appears to be a front runner. also, I just dont agree with a lot of the coaching and rotations. Lebron should always be sitting at the end of the 3rd and beginning of the 4th...resting and observing. Then he has to come in and exploit. He has a lot of skills but the lack of that one dominant mid-range/post move contributes to this lack of being able to finish strong in big moments as well. He HAS to develop a signature style, build repititon, and gain confidence. If not, he is just a guy who can do a myriad of things but doesnt have that one area where he can focus and channel all his energy into when the game is on the line.
Needed 19 shots to get 19 points. That cannot happen for the Heat to win.
plus, I maintain, the dude just is not selfish enough. that night where he was red-hot against Boston....he made some needless passes. he couldve just kept the ball and kept shooting....nobody would be mad at him, but he doesnt have that confidence....and that is even more evident when he misses freethrows late in the game.
he is the bad guy. he is the villian. he worries too much what people think about him when it should be obvious now that there is nothing he can do to change that. thats where the pressure lies. so now, he just needs to do what his team needs him to do.....and thats score the ball. which he said he will do, but a leopard cant change its spots...at least not overnight.
Surve was exactly right. LeBron needs to find one go-to move to close out games for his team.
I think he needs to concentrate on becoming dominant in the post. He is an outstanding post scorer, but he doesn't have the ability to just create a good shot in the post any time he wants to, they way truly elite post scorers do, such as Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, and Zach Randolph. When the Heat offense goes stagnant, I think it would be better to just get LeBron going in the post more.
That is what separates Durant from LeBron as a scorer. The Thunder can run Durant off of a pin down and know something good will happen. Either they force a switch to get Durant in a good isolation, Durant gets room to catch and shoot, Durant is able to go backdoor for a lob, Westbrook or Harden are able to attack the basket with the help defense occupied with the Durant pin down or the screener can slip the screen and cut to the rim for a layup. The defense just needs to either switch or count on Durant's defender fighting through the screen and then hope for the best.
Last year, Durant could be knocked off of his path with physical play and often settled for threes, but now he often curls at a harder angle to put more pressure on the defense or he attacks the rim off the dribble. Its amazing to watch him grow as a player.
They say LeBron and Wade ain't getting no help, but really yesterday Wade and LeBron were 18 for 43 (41.8%), while guys like Battier and Chalmers were having very good games and Chris Bosh was OK too
Durant and Westbrook actually got less help yesterday, the only guy who scored in double digits apart from them was Ibaka, although Sefolosha and Collison did play terrific defense/hustle, but Durant and Westbrook went for 22 for 44 (50%)
So the Miami duo was just outplayed by the Thunder duo yesterday
I will agree that Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade need to step up their game for Miami to have a shot at beating OKC. That much is obvious.
However, this post was about LeBron's ineffectiveness in the 4th quarter of important NBA Finals games. I honestly think the pressure gets to him. I really don't seeing it being anything else. With Bosh and Wade playing like bums, he feels the pressure to put the entire team on his back, and carry them for the entire game. That my friends cannot be done by one player, even if that one player is a 3-time MVP.
LeBron can be good all game long, but whenever it comes down to the final quarter, on the road, against a young, star-studded Oklahoma City Thunder team, with 67% of your Big 3 playing like ass, LeBron HAS to show up, and he knows it. That's why I think he shrinks in the pressure, because the pressure in Miami if FAR more fierce than it was in Cleveland.
Kevin Durant is definitely the player I'd take in the 4th quarter of any game. Durant has proved all postseason long that he can be a clutch player in the 4th, but there were some questions about his youth and inexperience, so maybe he wasn't quite ready to be 'That Guy' just yet, but he sure proved otherwise. 17 big points in the 4th quarter of game 1, and was the leader that guided OKC to victory.
only 3/4's the man Durant is.
Remember guys, D-Wade is hurt, his knee isn't the same, it's pretty bad, there have been reports that it had to be drained last week. And with Bosh hanging out at the three point line, unfortunatly it seems as if Lebron is on his own. But if the Heat lose this series, and Lebron continues to produce while D-Wade and bosh continue to dissapoint, than I won't be as harsh on Lebron as I was last year. Stephen A Smith brought up a great point, Lebron came to Miami to play with D-Wade, not to carry D-Wade, Wade is acting as if he's done and it's time for Lebron to do his thing and carry him.
loved to read the OP post, amazingly i didn't got bored and stop reading even with his lengthy cause it was good and explain what i've been saying all the time, LeBron is not a loser just not good basketball player as the world make him to be and absolutely not number 1 in the game, he also will not get to this top level if he doesn't master a post up game to be able from there to realize his unique talent, physical tools and court vision, to change his way of play and moving his work constantly to the post and influence the game from there which will help his team a lot.
Are we really crapping on Lebron's killer instinct under a week after he eviscerated the Celtics? He played a great game and Wade played like crap. How is this loss on LBJ? I don't even like the guy, but give it a rest.
He's not a pure shooter like Reggie Miller or Ray Allen, or even a pure scorer like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant -- two guards with go-to moves and the ability to post up. Dirk was a beast last year because he was a pure shooter AND a pure scorer. Durant is this year's version of Dirk.
I picked the Thunder to win in 7. I thought that this series would come down to who is the better sidekick. Well the Durant's sidekick (Westbrook) kicked Wade's ass. Big reason why OKC won and Miami lost.
I think that the other big matchup besides LeBron/Durant and Wade/Westbrook (which OKC won both of by the way) is Bosh vs. Ibaka. Neither guy dominated but Ibaka actually had slightly better stats. Ibaka played 27 minutes and shot 5-10 from the floor for 10 points to go along with six boards, an assist and a steal. Bosh played 33 minutes off the bench, but shot worse (4-11 from the field with a 3. 1-2 from the line), grabbed only 5 boards and had no assists or steals. Bosh spent too much time on the perimeter. He had only one turnover but Ibaka didn't have any. So the Thunder basically won all three big matchups.
Shane Battier won the glue guy/defensive stopper/jump shot threat battle against Thabo Sefolosha (17 points, 4 triples, and 4 boards and a steal for Battier versus 9 points 2 steals, 2 assists and a block for Sefolosha). The center battle was nothing to write home about (unless you fondly remember Bill Cartwright vs. Mark West in the '93 Finals), with the undersized Haslem getting 11 rebounds (Joel Anthony had 0 boards off the bench in 2 minutes) to Perkins' 7. But Perkins had 4 points and a blocked shot while the Haslem/Anthony combo didn't score or block a shot. Nick Collison was a good big off the bench with 8 points (on 4-5 shooting) with 10 boards in 21 minutes, basically outplaying Bosh, too.
So the Thunder basically won all the big matchups except for the Battier/Sefolosha matchup, unless you consider the center matchup that was basically a tie. The Thunder even won the backup guard matchup with Mike Miller scoring only 2 points in 10 minutes, and James Harden, even though he had an off night, chipped in with 5 points and 3 assists. Fisher had a nice game off the bench with 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist in 25 minutes off the bench for the Thunder. Fisher doesn't have to worry about chasing Tony Parker around the court (which I pointed out before the series started) so the Thunder can afford to play him a bit more in this series.
Last night, the Heat looked outmatched and outclassed. If the Heat aren't careful they can easily go down 0-2 with three basically must-win games in Miami looming before the series heads back to OKC for games 6 and 7 (if needed).
Nobody is saying it's Lebron's fault. But people expect more from him. At least in the playoffs Durant has shown more MVP quality than LBJ. Also, what's with the free throws?
The Celtics are old as $hit and not even supposed to be there Lebron has never done enough to win on the highest level and when you are the best player in the world that is considered unacceptable or minimum odd. You can't blame it on his teamates every single year.
My theory is, if its not Lebron's fault when they lose, then he doesn't deserve the credit if they win; because obviously you are saying that he is not the deciding factor between winning and losing. So if its his teamates fault when they lose, you better be giving them all the credit if they win.
I think it's a combination of things.
Despite the fact he's had huge games before, I really think the pressure does get to him. During the clutch, LeBron reminds me of a kid who's afraid of public speaking.
I also think not having a real go-to move hurts him. There's really no spot on the floor he's just money every single time. Everything is mostly isolation, clear out and dribble dribble dribble with him.
This may be almost insane to say, but he's "easy" to defend. Predictable. You know what he's going to do. He doesn't move without the ball. He doesn't catch and shoot. He's still somewhat inconsistent shooting the ball. The defense just loads up on him. Durant isn't the physical marvel LeBron is, but I don't think there's an answer for Durant at all. He's too unpredictable. He can do it all offensively.
As great as LeBron is and can be at times (like when he just obliterated the Celtics), he still has holes in his game and they show the most in 4th quarters.
Lebron is too finesse in his jumpshooting when the game is on the line. Jordan and Kobe were great shooters who used the fade-a-way to perfection....Lebron is not that type of shooter so it puzzles the hell out of me when he takes 15-18 foot fadeaways on guys he has 6-7 inch height advantages on.
That comes down to a couple of things....he doesnt like to use his physicality and strength when it comes down to the game being on the line....and thats a confidence issue....from a scoring perspective, and from getting fouled. If he were confident in his free-throw shooting, he would get in the opponent's chest more often. He tries to win games on fadaways far too often and thats really unacceptable for a guy of his stature. He doesnt play like that in the first 3 quarters, then he does something that leaves me SMH. He did that against Rondo in game 4 (???) he had an iso and shot a fadaway....ON RONDO! Now, if thats Jordan or Kobe, cool....Rondo cant block your shot, but LBJ is not that consistant of a shooter falling away to do that. If he wants to shoot over Rondo, just go straight up....whats the fadaway for? His first mindset should be to back Rondo down and show him no respect.
The same reason some talented boxers can never close the deal is because they show their opponent too much respect. Muhammad Ali knew George Foreman couldve obliterated him, but he used the rope a dope on him and got in his head so bad....he demoralized him and knocked him the fock out.
Lebron needs to get downright disrespectful and show no love. He is not a talker either. He cant get into opponents heads. He is just a good guy and thats not always good for basketball. There needs to be a middle ground.
It's pretty simple in my opinion. I have a few reasons.
First, he struggles to score at will. Offensively his game is about getting others involved and driving to the bucket and drawing fouls. His mid-range game and jumping shooting ability is lacking. When games are on the line, teams are going to protect the rim. If James can't get in the lane and finish he's going to struggle to score. Poor jump shooting and an average mid-range game is mostly to blame for his 4th quarter struggles.
My other reason is he really doesn't have that killer instinct both Jordan and Kobe had/have. When games are on the line, he just doesn't seem like he wants to take over. Jordan and Kobe have an absolute will to win. I just don't see that in Lebron.
One comment Lebron made prior to game one shows his mindset. I forget the question the reporter asked, but Lebron responded saying "I won't have any regrets no matter what happens in these finals". Really? You're supposedly the best player in the world, and you'll have no regrets no matter what happens on the biggest stage??? To me that sounds like he's complacent and doesn't have that will to win that Jordan and Kobe had.
I won't deny that Lebron is the most talented player in the world. He can do almost anything he wants on the court. The problem is, superstars should be able to carry their team when it matters the most. When does it matter the most? Well, in the 4th quarter of an NBA Finals game is when it matters most. That's when a team's best player puts his team on his back and carries them to victory. Lebron has shown that he can't do that consistently. He's now 2-9 in NBA Finals games.
Yeah Surve, I just don't get why Lebron doesn't use his strength and size to post up. It reminds me of when I've played one on one with a guy who is significantly shorter than me. I know I can just back him down until I get to the paint and score. But that wouldn't be fun or "sporting". So I play like a guard and create with a faceup game against the guy. It becomes a fun game of one on one. But that isn't how I'd play for money or in a real game! Lebron sometimes seems like he wants to win this thing shooting jumpers to show he can do it. Or to give Durrant a chance. It is crazy and very frustrating.
He needs to establish a low post position and then get the ball passed to him when he is close to the basket. I know the Thunder stopped some of those plays, but Spo really needs to figure out how to do that.
In the legendary game 6, Lebron finally got in the post and did some work there. He has to do that again, especially against the Thunder who don't have a post defender as good as Garnett (but then who does).