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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 Deadspin.com 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.

Comments

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: June 9, 2011 10:46 am
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Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: June 9, 2011 10:42 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

This is why LBJ joined up with Wade and Botch.  He cannot carry a team to the tilte like Jordan or Kobe.  When things don't go well for him he cashes it in like he did last year in the game where the Celtics eliminated the Cavs. Now he has a sidekick who can get it done when he's not in the mood.  He is the most talented basketball player, but not the strongest mentally.



Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: June 9, 2011 10:41 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

There are so many couch potato atheletes here that it is incredible.  When you play hard you talk hard.  So you try to get into the other one's head.  If you are successful then the other athelete plays outside himself and creates unforced errors.  I played the 1 for a school that will remain nameless to protect myself.  We were in a semi-final tournament game.  There were ten seconds left and the guy checking me told me I would not score.  I looked at him and said "I am going to score and there is nothing you can do about it.".  I did score and we won the game.   By saying what I said I pushed my adrenalin up and got the defender to perhaps make a mistake by overplaying on defense.  All Stevenson is doing is pushing himself and perhaps getting Lebron to overplay.  It is competition 101.



Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: June 9, 2011 10:37 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Personally, I'm sick of hearing about Michael Jordan. His basketball days are over! This is a great Finals series we're watching. Furthermore, Jordan scored 63 points (overtime) in game 2 of the playoffs vs my Celtics at the Boston Garden. However, Jordan layed a big egg in game 3 in Chicago with only 19 points and Larry Bird dominated that game to seal the 3 game sweep. Every player has bad games, even MJ.
Yeah, but the thing is, you left out the fact that MJ was only a ROOKIE when he played the Celtics. So 19 points isn't that much of a letdown considering that he was only a rookie playing against one of the greatest team back then.



Since: Dec 25, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2011 10:25 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

The media is blowing this out-of-context quote way out of proportion. Jim Rome asked Stevenson, whether Lebron facilitated or checked out, and Stevenson actually said "both." He went on to describe James' play and pointed out that he checked out in the 4th. He also said that was good for the Mavericks. Far from trash talk, he was answering a question and using Rome's words. All of you morons who think this will affect the outcome of the game would be better suited to follow soap operas.



Since: Jun 9, 2011
Posted on: June 9, 2011 10:07 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Stevenson is RIGHT!  This is the NBA Finals and basketball for goodness sake and Lebron has yet to show any emotion.  If Lebron had half the heart as Stevenson, then maybe he would have more then 9 total 4th quarter points in the NBA Finals.




Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: June 9, 2011 10:07 am
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Since: Feb 25, 2011
Posted on: June 9, 2011 9:25 am
 

Stevenson Who?

Dumbest move ever to call out a guy like LB. Stevenson who? Didn't he run for president in the 1950's? Bet the farm the Heat will cover the spread.



Since: Aug 22, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2011 9:22 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

The Mavs sould limit the name calling and criticism - why give the other team motivation by making ridiculous comments?  Just be happy he did not show up and hope he stays out next game, YOU WON!!



Since: Nov 24, 2009
Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:48 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Everyone should fully expext LeBron to show up today and have a big game, trash talk or not. I didn't think that Stevenson was really trash talking - that is the media trying to get a rise out of anyone they could - he was just answering the question. Lebron has played very good defense and D-Wade has carried the load. To me it looks like LeBron is tired, just like every year about this time. He needs to suck it up like all of the greats do. Plus he doesn't have to carry the team by himself, so maybe that is the other problem here.


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