Then again, LeBron James isn’t most players. As a future Hall of Famer who remains the most talented basketball player on the planet, his standard is far higher.
That’s why James seems to be putting much of the blame on himself for his team’s 89-83 loss on Christmas Day to the defending-champion Warriors (28-1). Though the Cavaliers came far closer to winning at Golden State than most have, they weren’t able to finish it off — and an uncharacteristically sloppy and inefficient performance from the four-time MVP had a lot to do with it.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) December 26, 2015
The logical assumption is that James is referring to his missed shots and turnovers. Despite leading Cleveland in scoring with 25 points, he also committed four turnovers, missed 16 shots from the field (10-of-26 FG) and went just 4-of-9 at the free-throw line, including multiple bricks late when the game was close.
The bright side for LeBron and the Cavaliers? Even after the loss, they’re still 19-8 and firmly in control of the East’s No. 1 seed. They can also take pleasure in how well they played defensively, having held the Warriors to almost 26 points below their average.
However, it’s because of that strong defensive effort that many viewed the game as a lost opportunity for the Cavs, who could’ve won the game with even an average offensive performance.
To be fair, Draymond Green and the Warriors deserve immense credit for their strong defense, which on several occasions forced James into taking sub-optimal shots. But as evidenced by the free throws, James also had his share of unforced errors — and as Cleveland’s veteran leader, LeBron deserves credit for owning up to his mistakes and taking responsibility for them.
Ben DuBose is a veteran sports reporter who has followed the Houston Rockets and the NBA since Hakeem Olajuwon was Akeem Olajuwon. He writes for both SheridanHoops and ClutchFans, an independent Rockets blog. You can follow him on Twitter.