LeBron James hadn’t even attempted at least 25 field goals in a game since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Indiana. You have to go back to March 18 against Boston for the last time James converted on at least 15 field goals.
SAN ANTONIO — They were a beauty to behold. They were a beast to behold. You sat there watching Game 4, a night of precision and perfection from the Miami Heat, and you couldn’t keep the thought out of your head — you were watching one of the greatest teams of all time.
Except that they aren’t. Because this was the exception, not the rule.
This was the Heat at their very, very best. Championship material. Dynasty material. “Not two, not three, not four” material — for real.
The NBA Finals have yet to disappoint when it comes to headlines and talking points. From LeBron James registering a triple-double in a Game 1 that ended in spectacular fashion—with a Tony Parker play that seemed unbelievable—to two straight blowouts (one favoring each team) in Game 2 and Game 3, this year’s Finals have been a roller coaster of entertainment.
Twitter has been as lively as ever, with most people questioning Miami Heat and their leader James.
What’s wrong with the Heat’s defense? Why is LeBron being so passive? When will coach Spoelstra make adjustments?
As if Game 4 of the NBA Finals didn’t already have enough allure, the Miami Heat took their show on the road for their morning shootaround Thursday, opting to hold their practice session in a remote location.
“I played like —-.”
LeBron James was as blunt as ever as he spoke to the media Wednesday follow the Miami Heat’s 113 – 77 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. He did not shy away from blame, on the contrary, he took it all on the chin.
I take full responsibility for our team’s performance last night. Me as a leader, I can’t afford to perform like I did last night and expect us to win on the road, it’s that simple. So I’m putting all the pressure on my chest, on my shoulders to come through for our team. That’s the way it is.”
And, to a degree he is right. While he can’t take blame for everything—such as the terrible job his teammates did covering San Antonio three-point shooters Danny Green and Gary Neal or Mario Chalmers’ complete melt down—he was clearly not himself, especially on offense.
James’ performance was atrocious. He shot an abysmal 7-of-21 from the field. Five of his seven makes came in the paint, where he shot 71-percent, but was 2-of-14 outside the painted area (just 14-percent).
That is a significant drop-off from the 42-percent that he shot on shots ranging from 10-feet to the three-point line during the regular season. He was 1-of-4 from beyond the arc in Game 3, a dismal 25-percent compared to the career mark of 40-percent that he set this year.
During the Heat’s post-practice media session, LeBron made it clear that he intends to play better in Game 4. The NBA posted his vow on the league Twitter account for all to see—so there won’t be any leniency should he fail to live up to his own words.
While the Heat were practicing Wednesday morning, James could be seen posting from the right elbow—working on spin moves to the basket. So, one could easily surmise that he intends to make more of a concerted effort to have a presence in the post in Game 4.
Teammate Dwyane Wade seems confident that James will do what is necessary to have more of an impact in the next game.There was a problem connecting to Twitter.
Heat fans can only hope that he’ll follow through on his words and make the adjustments necessary to have a much more competitive Game 4 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. If the Heat, and particularly LeBron James, fail to play more efficiently on offense (and continue to give up open threes on defense), there will not be a repeat champion in 2013.
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Michael Brumagin is the “Tweet of the Day” columnist for Sheridan Hoops.
SAN ANTONIO — Once again Wednesday, LeBron James heaping all the blame and the pressure on himself. His mood was better, his defiance was not manufactured, and he made a lot of good points while making a guarantee that he would play better.
Not that the Heat would win Game 4, but that he’d play better.
As guarantees go, it is certainly not the boldest one ever made.