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 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: May 29, 2009
Posted on: June 9, 2011 7:18 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

I'm not worried about Lebron at all. Lebron will do what great players do, not because what the media says, not because what other players say, but because the drive it takes to get to his level is something you're born with, it doesn't just go away. Lebron realizes in order for Miami to win they need more from him, and he won't disappoint. Expect something amazing tonight from Lebron and the Heat. Lebron will be the Lebron we have all come to know on the court tonight, not because he has something to prove or he has to answer his critics, but because you can't pretend to be something you're not, an average player. The real Lebron will show up tonight, and that's one of the greatest players to play the game. Go Heat!!
Lebron is 8 games into his NBA finals career -- he is averaging 19 points a game and almost 6 turnovers.  He has an NBA regular season scoring average of 28 pts a game -- His CAREER HIGH in the NBA finals is 25.

At what point is the real Lebron going to show up or is what we are seeing actually the real Lebron???  Until he proves he can perform on the biggest stage -- I think he is happy playing 2nd fiddle to Wade.

If this series has shown me anything -- it is Wade who has the heart and fire to take a team on his back and will them to a championship.  He has the intangibles you can't teach.  Lebron is the most physically gifted player in the NBA hands down.  Until he puts those gifts to good use -- he will never be called the greatest of all time.



Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: June 9, 2011 7:12 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

If I was his coach and/or teammate I'd punch Stevenson right in the mouth.... what an idiot.  Rule number 1 when you have momentum in the finals in any pro sports league is you never under any circumstances give the other team bulletin board material.  In this case Stevenson did worse.. he gave the best basketball player in the NBA even more reason to come out big in game 5..... how stupid can one person be???  Wow.
What did Stevenson say that is a big deal????  It is the same thing EVERYONE is saying from sports columnists to fans to ESPN.  Stevenson gave Lebron more props than anything else in his comments.

Also, the 'best basketball player in the NBA' is the one who said 'no one man can guard him' -- then follows it up with two subpar games, including completely disappearing in the 4th quarter last game.  Or is it alright for Lebron to give the Mavs bulletin board material????

If the Heat win the NBA title this year -- it is going to be Dwayne Wade who leads the Heat to the title.  You can continue to call Lebron the best player in the NBA, but the guy isn't even the best player on his own team right now. 




Since: May 4, 2011
Posted on: June 9, 2011 7:04 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

I'm not worried about Lebron at all. Lebron will do what great players do, not because what the media says, not because what other players say, but because the drive it takes to get to his level is something you're born with, it doesn't just go away. Lebron realizes in order for Miami to win they need more from him, and he won't disappoint. Expect something amazing tonight from Lebron and the Heat. Lebron will be the Lebron we have all come to know on the court tonight, not because he has something to prove or he has to answer his critics, but because you can't pretend to be something you're not, an average player. The real Lebron will show up tonight, and that's one of the greatest players to play the game. Go Heat!!



Since: Mar 19, 2007
Posted on: June 9, 2011 6:42 am
 

Bulletin Board material is so overrated

Do you people honestly believe that a player or team can perform better because of some overhyped comments?  Was LeBron thinking he would just sleepwalk through the rest of the series, wait, but not now!  Now he's "fired-up" and will start making his shots. You are kidding yourselves if you think players need extra motivation for these games.  This is just something the media does to try to suck you in.

I remember the Jets talking smack for 2 weeks leading up to there game in New England.  It was not subtle at all, it was direct intentional smack talk.  The media had a field day talking about how NY just dug their own grave and you don't give a Belichick coached team bulletin board material!  What happened?  The Jets went in and performed the beatdown they said they would.  Sure the Pats players were motivated and fired-up, but that does not result in better play.



Since: Dec 30, 2010
Posted on: June 9, 2011 5:12 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Who cares, everyone says Lebum is the best player in the NBA, he's not even the best player on his team, D-Wade is the best player for Miami, he's proved it all year and Leduche is not better than Dirk, hell honestly I don't think anyone is, talent wise maybe but I have yet to see ANYONE stop Dirk, hell even sickness can't stop this dude!!



Since: Oct 10, 2010
Posted on: June 9, 2011 4:53 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Stevenson just ruined it for the mavs he has just awaken a sleeping GIANT in James and the rest of the Heat who are now gonna back him up and finish this series up in 6 games........BYE BYE MAVS!!!!!




Since: Apr 23, 2010
Posted on: June 9, 2011 3:30 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

I like how Lebron said they don't get caught up in all that talk when he was saying the other day that no one can guard him in the league. He runs his mouth more than anyone.



Since: Jun 3, 2011
Posted on: June 9, 2011 2:23 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

Lebron should redeem himself in Game 5. Live by the moment.... This is the finals..... It is all or nothing... He should play aggressively all the way....  or else  the HEAT is doomed...... Spolestra should create more plays for LBJ....... Probably LBJ is now physically and emotionally drain from all the write ups on him.... Lebron be the basketball player we all know.... Push your self to the limit.. There is no holding back...



Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: June 9, 2011 2:01 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

I saw Lebron with 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals to go with his below average offensive performance.  I am not a Lebron fan but he will bounce back.  As for Stevenson what did he say?  Lebron wasn't himself he is usually in attack mode and Marion backed that up with the obvious, Wade had the hot hand and he was a black hole on the offensive end.  The last three games have been very tight where it has come down to the final shot of the game.  It's 2-2 and one game at a time.  What's funny is the media that is trying to create some controversy when all they have to do is report the game.  Players are playing at a high intensity.  Lebron is doing what is best for the team.  He deferred rightfully in the 4th quarter as Wade had the hot hand and that is what teammates do in a situation like that.  How come these writers cannot write about how Tyson Chandler stepped it up in game 4 with 13 points and 16 rebounds or Wade  had a couple of big effort blocks?  It's no wonder bloggers don't get paid when they write crap with no support of their statements.



Since: Aug 9, 2009
Posted on: June 9, 2011 12:23 am
 

LeBron James takes heat, from himself and others

I'm all about guys not doing their talking on the court but there reaches a point w here you have to say something back and it's about time James defends himself and goes on attack mode on the court and through the media.  This guy will never be Jordan.  You want to talk Jordan comparisons?  People were afraid of Jordan.  He'd kick your @ss on the court and he would off the court as well.


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