Blog Entry

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

Posted on: June 4, 2011 4:09 pm
Edited on: June 4, 2011 4:11 pm
 
LeBron James says he needs to be more aggressive and that no one, including Shawn Marion, can stop him one-on-one.  lebron-shawnPosted by Ben Golliver.

DALLAS -- Miami Heat forward LeBron James is always going to get his numbers. No matter who guards him, how often he faces double teams or what position he's asked to play, James produces, and produces big.

Over his last seven NBA seasons, James has averaged at least 26.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists. Not a single other NBA player has hit those numbers once. 

Through two games in the NBA Finals, James's scoring and passing numbers have taken a hit. Despite playing 42.5 minutes per game, James is averaging 24 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists and the Heat are averaging just 92.5 points as a team, down nearly 10 points from their regular season average of 102.1.

These aren't eye-popping declines given that defenses tighten up in the postseason, but any time James isn't performing to his usual standard, questions start getting asked. For starters: Is Mavericks forward Shawn Marion throwing him off of his game?

At his media availability on Saturday, James complimented Marion's performances during Game 1 and Game 2, but seemed to scoff at the notion that Marion individually had succeeded in slowing him down.

"I think Shawn Marion has done a great job," James said. "Especially offensively. He's picked up his game offensively. Hanging around the rim, getting some lay-ups, getting some tip-backs, playing around the rim. His activity throughout the first two games has been pretty good."

But what about the defensive end?

"I don't feel like it's one guy in this league that can stop me one-on-one," James said. "There's always a defense that's looking at me when I have the ball. He's the guy that's guarding me, but there's no one guy that can guard me."

When Marion has matched up against James, he's done about as well as can be expected. He's played both assertively and intelligently, competing regardless of whether he gets beaten for a highlight dunk. Late in Game 2, James was bottled up about as tightly as you'll see and he responded by forcing up late three-pointers against the shot clock that didn't fall, a critical factor in Dallas' massive comeback.

If James wasn't going to give him credit, Marion was happy to give it to himself.

"I've been doing it my whole career," Marion said of his defense on Saturday. "If you go back and look at my whole career, I've done it -- point guards all the way to big men. It's just another day at work."

Marion wanted to make it clear that his defensive abilities aren't simply a product of a new role he's taken on as he's gotten older or with this particular Mavericks team.

"I've always been a defensive stopper," Marion said. "I've always played defense. I had to go from playing the three to playing power forward. Name me players in this league who can do that. 6-foot=7, 225 pounds. Nobody can do that probably in the next generation coming. I've always prided myself on playing both ends of the floor. I'm a competitor."

So if it wasn't Marion stopping him, what's gone wrong offensively in James' opinion?

James attributed his decreased scoring to a lack of aggressiveness and pointed to the fact that he has attempted just six free throws in the first two Finals games combined.

"I do have to be more aggressive in the paint," James said. "Six free throws in two games -- I do that in my sleep in one game. So that's not me. I'm going to make a concerted effort to be more aggressive to try to get to the rim, create some more opportunities for myself and my teammates."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he pinpointed three late-game possessions that were "very poor" and later Wade explained that those three possessions were the forced, errant threes from himself and James. "

James seemed to agree, singling out one aspect of Dallas' defense that he believed deserved praise: the Mavericks' unexpected decision to aggressively defend him on the perimeter during pick-and-rolls late in the game.

"They did some things defensively that they hadn't done throughout the first two games all the way. They started to blitz me [and Heat guard Dwyane Wade's] pick-and-rolls, a lot our sets kept us on the perimeter. We didn't get into our sets early enough to give us more time. So we had to take contested long-range threes." 

Forcing James to take contested, long-range threes is the definition of succeeding defensively against him. Marion deserves the praise for his Game 2 performance, even if James wasn't willing to give it to him.
Comments

Since: Jan 31, 2011
Posted on: June 4, 2011 10:54 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

as much as i dont like lebron.. he is like 6' 8" 290 pounds of solid muscle. how are you supposed to stop that?



Since: May 29, 2011
Posted on: June 4, 2011 10:54 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

Rodman joined the bulls after Jordan led the Bulls to three championships. Horace Grant was their power forward. And against the pistons Jordan usually scored at least 30 a game even though he was doubled and tripled teamed the whole game. Besides getting pounded by the pistons with fouls many never called. Besides scoring around 30 a game sometimes more he usually had numerous assists. The players around Jordan weren't ready and sometimes never showed up even though Jordan played incredible. After the pistons won the championship Jordan and the Bulls swept the pistons in 4 games. Big difference between how the game was called against Jordan by the refs compared to today when you can't even breath on Lebron or else its a foul. Most players are told hold your breath beside if you breath while guarding him its a foul.



Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: June 4, 2011 10:46 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

I can recall watching Larry Bird play and about 90% of the time, Bird would push off with his of hand ! Ditto for Jordan ! Go back and watch the Bulls-Jazz finals when Jordan hit the game winning shot while shoving Byron Russell away from clear as a sunny day and no whistle blew !
Magic Johnson put his knee up illegally every time he drove the lane, and we all know that Jordan was the most coddled athlete of all time in terms of getting away with offensive fouls (Michael Irvin and all of his offensive interference in football is a close second).  That fade away worked so well because he pushed off first.  Every. Single. Time.  Jordan himself admitted it after his first retirement when he said that if they don;t call it why would he stop doing it?



Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: June 4, 2011 10:43 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

No team should lose a game they were leading by double digits ! The Bulls and Jordan would have never lost a game like that !
Actually, I can remember three times in the playoffs that Jordan and the Bulls lost to the superior Pistons when they led by double digits, but Rodman & Dumars were famously was able to shut Jordan down.  That's why the Bulls couldn't win until they got Rodman.  But more importantly, my eyes work just fine; stop bolding your rants.



Since: Apr 23, 2010
Posted on: June 4, 2011 10:36 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

What a dick thing to say he contiunes to ruin his image. Jordan would have destroyed him one on one.



Since: May 29, 2011
Posted on: June 4, 2011 10:30 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

I would rather have durant then lebron anyday. Durant will end up going down in history much higher on the all-time list of Small Forwards. Durant might end up the all-time best at SF. If the heat had Durant instead of Lebron they win ever game by 25. Lebron isn't even the best guy on his team let alone the conference or the NBA.



Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: June 4, 2011 10:30 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

"There are plenty of guys that can gaurd James. The problem is the fact that he gets away with 10+ offensive fould a game."

Name one superstar who doesn't get away with walking and fouling ? The NBA "protects" those players who people come to see so it's the nature of the beast ! 

I can recall watching Larry Bird play and about 90% of the time, Bird would push off with his of hand ! Ditto for Jordan ! Go back and watch the Bulls-Jazz finals when Jordan hit the game winning shot while shoving Byron Russell away from clear as a sunny day and no whistle blew !




Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: June 4, 2011 10:27 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

You, Stern and the NBA ! Now what makes LeBron a clown ? "It ain't bragging if you can back it up ?"
 



Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: June 4, 2011 10:26 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

I wouldn't say Marion neutralized James ! LeBron if he ever sets his mind to it and stop settling, can be the most dominant SF ever to play ! He's basically a PF with SF skills ! No other SF in the league is as gifted physically as he is and he can abuse any SF on the low block anytime he wants !



Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: June 4, 2011 10:24 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

No team should lose a game they were leading by double digits ! The Bulls and Jordan would have never lost a game like that !


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