Blog Entry

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Posted on: June 8, 2011 6:12 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 6:55 pm
Miami Heat forward LeBron James takes criticism from himself and others. Posted by Ben Golliver. lebron-james-face

DALLAS – Following Miami Heat forward LeBron James’ confounding no-show in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, the question on everyone’s mind on Wednesday was simple: What the heck happened?

 “[He] checked out,” Dallas Mavericks guard DeShawn Stevenson said. Later, he referred to James’ detached passivity as “weird.”

“I just feel like he wasn’t in attack mode,” Stevenson added. “I think when he’s in attack mode, he can put a lot of pressure on us. I don’t know what was happening last night, but me playing against him all these years, that wasn’t himself.”

James wouldn’t bite when asked about Stevenson’s comments.

“DeShawn, he's been talking for a long time, since our Washington‑Cleveland days,” James said. “I don't let that get to us. Those guys are playing well. We're playing well. It's a three‑game series. Talk is cheap. You have to play the game of basketball. Let the scores and the plays define the game. We don't get caught up in that too much.”

While those two exchanged words like they have for years, the rest of the Mavericks were more concerned with pinpointing the reasons for James’ lack of assertiveness on offense and talking up his ability as a playmaker.

Mavericks forward Shawn Marion pointed to Heat guard Dwyane Wade’s ball dominance late as a major contributing factor in James’ struggles.

“They’ve got to take turns on who handles the ball, who’s not handling the ball,” Marion said. “[James is] one of their primary ball handlers. When he’s not handling the ball, he’s not in the play.”

Stevenson agreed. “If you have a player like Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh and they have it going, you tend to defer… You go back and look at film and TV, you can kind of see he’s deferring.”

The player who came to James’ defense more than any other, surprisingly, was Mavericks guard Jason Terry, who questioned James’ defense earlier this week. Terry said on Tuesday that James can dominate a game even without scoring and seemed to imply that the criticism of James' Game 4 performance was overkill.

“Pick your poison,” Terry said of James as a scorer or as a facilitator. “Him getting a triple double, that will help them. They’ll win the game. He almost had one last night, and they almost won the game. LeBron is unique. He’s a unique character. If you want to categorize him as just a scorer, you’re doing it all wrong. He’s like Magic. He’s a guy who can affect a game without scoring 30, 40 points. He can get it done on both ends.”

Terry did get in one subtle dig, though.

"I don't really care what to expect from him [in Game 5],“ Terry said.

In other words, this series won’t be decided by James alone.

Stevenson and Marion, despite the trash talking throughout the week and during games -- which Stevenson calls "jaw-jacking" -- did make an outward attempt to distance themselves from the back-and-forth.

“Great players just need a little thing to get it going,” Stevenson said. “You don’t want to say anything bad or anything, but he’s talented enough to use anything in the paper to boost his ego.”

“Y’all gonna gas up anything we say regardless,” said Marion said just hours after posted a video of him scoring on James and directing a taunt at him. “I don’t get into that talking smack. We’re competitors, and we’ve got respect for each other.”

At the eye of the storm, James said he’s trying to tune everything out, including the media reaction to the worst game of his playoff career.  

“I haven't read anything that was written,” James said. “I didn't play well, especially offensively. I know that. I've got to do a better job of helping this team win basketball games, especially late, no matter what it is.” 

Besides, James said he doesn't need to listen to others criticize him. He is already doing that to himself.

“Eight points is definitely inexcusable for myself,” James said. “I hold myself up to a higher standard. I had to do a better job of putting myself in situations where I can benefit myself and my team, no matter how many minutes I'm out on the floor.

“I was hard on myself all last night,” James said. “Anytime I feel like I could have played better and the team loses, that's what it's all about. If I have a bad game and we win, I'm hard on myself, but at the end of the day we win the basketball game. That's ultimately what it's all about. When we lose and I don't play well and I feel like I could have did one or two more things to help our team win or get over the hump, you're definitely hard on yourself.  That's just me. That's just the make‑up of who I am.”         

After four games of this NBA Finals, hours of talk, and thousands of words, we couldn't have less of an idea of who James is. His demeanor, his play and his confidence all fluctuate by the day.

We'll see which James shows up to Game 5 on Thursday night.


Since: Nov 24, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2011 7:18 pm

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

LeBron should just change his name to LeChoke.....just ask any Cavs fan!

Since: Nov 24, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2011 7:16 pm

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

LeBron should just legally change his name to LeChoke.....just ask any Cavs fan!

Since: Sep 5, 2009
Posted on: June 8, 2011 7:15 pm

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

My sister did the exact same thing! Shes like "Wheres Lebron James? Is he even playing? The announcers havent said his name once." lol Lebron turns into a ghost when its time to shine.

Since: Jan 4, 2011
Posted on: June 8, 2011 7:11 pm

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

I don't think pro sports are fixed, at least on the player level, but if they were, this is what it would look like. If LBJ layed down, it was because he didn't think his team was going to win this game in any case. In his drama-king ego, he wants to win it at home. The trouble is, nothing has happened in this series to support the idea that LBJ is the best player in the game, let alone the heir to MJ.

Still, I'd like to see the real big three in this series -- Dirk, DW, LBJ (a far third) -- on the same team. It would be interesting. The player who has been most exposed in the finals is Chris Bosh. Dirk is the template and model for the position -- a finesse oriented big forward. Bosh is not even slightly close to Dirk.

Since: Jul 5, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2011 7:05 pm

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

My 75 year old Mom who doesn't watch basketball said "I wouldn't have even have noticed Lebron if you didn't tell me he was number 6. Why didn't the coach design a play for him? The white guy with the curly hair on the other team is better. And his teammate Dwyane something, and the guy Chris Boosh (yes, she said Boosh)." While that was one was a bit off, she wasn't far off with the rest and I had a laugh. I told her the Lebron guy said his goal was to be a global icon. She responded, "Icon for what? I never hear his name called by the announcers." LMAO.

Since: Mar 29, 2011
Posted on: June 8, 2011 7:05 pm

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Absolute what the heck are you talking about maybe thats why your status is amature thats like me saying the Bucks should be in the play offs Dude  laloser and his cast of losers are done. the Mavs are going to have desert WADE Laloser and what ever the other guys name is.Cool 

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: June 8, 2011 7:02 pm

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

 Please show me when Jordan took time off during games!! I don't think you can, and it is this reason why james will never be the best of all time!! I love it!!

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2011 6:59 pm

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Just a few thoughts.
- Its invalid to give Lebron crap for going to the Heat. Magic had several hall of famers in his reign, as did Bird. Michael Jordan didnt have much but played in an era were there were few superstars in thier prime.
- I love the fact that everyone says this and that about Lebron. It does amaze me though that no one gives the Mavs credit for anything. Mavs play the game and keep it close and then turn it on in the fourth. Sounds just like Jordans Bulls or Kobes Lakers. In fact is is exactly the same.
- All you freaking idiots who are saying the Heat should be up 4-0. Pure stupidity. You could just as easily say the Mavs should be up 3-1. Get rid of a few turnovers, get some more rebounds, give Dirk some help. All of that would make them 3-1 right now. Oh what is that I hear " well you see those things didnt happen because the Heat are just a better team " Man if they were that much better of a team they would be able to close out Dallas in the 4th quarter.
- All you morons get your head on straight. I dont know who is going to win the series. The Heat have two superstars that carry thier team with another star who is close. They have very little after that. The Mavs have one superstar but several other pieces who play together and trust each other. Miami's problem is when the game is on the line they turn into a one on one iso team. The Mavs play as a team for an entire game.
- As I said I dont know who is going to win but I do know one thing. If the Heat loose I can assure you that all you vaginas will have nothing to say and I bet wont have the balls to come on here and admit defeat. I promise you, If the Mavs loose I will come on and congratulate everyone for a championship.
- Wannabees

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2011 6:51 pm

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Your argument is invalid. Idiot

Since: Jun 8, 2011
Posted on: June 8, 2011 6:42 pm

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Despite it all this really does feel like a 4-0 Miami Heat sweep. No way this should be 2-2 based off of Dallas Mavericks' play during this series.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or