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: Feb 10, 2009
Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:37 am

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

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

that made no sense

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:36 am

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Whether James needs the trash talk to motivate him or not, if I were a Mavericks fan I'd be wondering why Stevenson continues to do all he can to add to James' motivation. Trash talk on the court to get into someone's head is one thing - and I actually enjoy the trash talk - but this is just crazy.

Since: May 23, 2011
Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:26 am

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Forget all the trash talk, color commentators and newspapers. Games are decided on the basketballl court, not on bulletin boards. If James needs trash talking or newspaper articles to raise the level of his play, the championship trophy will be arriving in Dallas early next week. LeBron scoring 8 points, Dirk playing with and injured hand, there are plenty of excuses on both sides should one of these teams lose a game. The guys featured in the article - have any of them won an NBA championship? NO. Time to zip the lip and play ball.

Since: Oct 23, 2007
Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:24 am

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

I have seen a lot of bashing about LeBron being a no show, but his games have not been that bad. No, he hasn't been lighting up the scoreboard, but he has been very consistent in all other areas of the game and just maybe the defense focusing more on him is what has allowed Bosh and Wade to play the way they have???? It is not like James is running around out there free as a bird, even when he is without the ball Dallas is all over him like a cheap suit. Now before all the James haters (and Cavaliers fans) go screaming about how he is a waste and didn't show, let's look at it this way... Miami would not even be in the Finals right now with a shot at the title if it were not for James, and as far as the Cavs go... They would have never made the Finals, or probablt even the playoffs if it were not for James. Everyone needs to stop trying to tear the guy down. He is a great basketball player, but he is still just human so he will have good days and bad days like the rest of us.

Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:16 am

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

I wouldn't say that but keep in mind LeBron has lived in a fish bowl all while being touted as the best high school player to come along in years then he bolts to the NBA and again the media hype surrounding him was insane ! LeBron was basically given the keys to a Lamborghini before he ever took a driver's test ! He was anointed as one of the greatest players ever before he ever played an NBA game !

That's a lot of pressure for one to live up to ! Jordan grew into his legacy whereas LeBron was all but given a spot in the Hall Of Fame and several NBA titles before he ever played a game ! 

Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:14 am

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Does this look familiar Cleveland? Championship no show last year as well

Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:13 am

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Good points ! Truly great players i.e. Magic, Bird, Jordan, Isiah etc etc etc elevate their game when the lights on the bigeest stage are lit and so far Lebron has failed to do that ! Heck if it weren't for Wade, the Heat would be trailing in this series 3-1 !

Wade has proven he brings his "A" game when the big lights go on ! He did so in 2006 against the Mavs in winning his 1st NBA title and he's doing it now ! If LeBron and Bosh can elevate their game to Wade's level, the Heat just might get that ring they bought and paid for ! 

Since: Jul 8, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:12 am

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

LeBron James is a self absorbed douche bag.

Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:09 am

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

I agree about Stevenson but lets be honest here, LeBron also "checked out" against Boston and Detroit when he was with the Cavs and it's becoming commonplace for him to do so ! People are trying to elevate LeBron to Jordanesque status but Jordan never ever choked, checked out, disappeared etc etc etc in any NBA Finals he participated in !

Since: Mar 17, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2011 7:30 am

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Pulease!! What the hell has DeShawn Stephenson done in his career!  He wishes he had half the talent that LeBron has. 

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