Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Lebron James
Posted on: February 29, 2012 5:56 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 6:10 pm
 

Barkley on Rome: LeBron defers too much

Charles Barkley says LeBron defers to Dwyane Wade too much. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore
 

Charles Barkley had more to say on Jim Rome than just wishing someone could shoot 20 percent of NBA fans. 

Rome asked Barkley about his feelings on LeBron James, and well, you know Chuck. 

 

This is the eternal debate with James. And the biggest problem, honestly, is Michael Jordan. 

You see, Jordan set a new bar for alpha dogs. It wasn't enough to make the game winning play. To be the best, you have to rise up and knock down a mid-range jumper, preferably fading away, to win the game. That's the bar. Passing may be the best play, it may be the right play, it may be considered the best thing to do the other 47 minutes of a game, but when things get close down the stretch, that jumper's what you're expected to do. Problem is, James isn't very good at it. He's gotten better at it, but he's not automatic. This, maybe more than anything else, defines him. 

Consider this. Inside three minutes to go in a game separated by five points or less, James has seven of the Heat's ten total assists in that range this season. By comparison, James has 11 field goal attempts, the same as Wade and just one more than Bosh, in that same situation. He has made just three of them. (Wade is 5 of 11, Bosh 7 of 10.)

So James is handling the ball a lot. He's just not hitting. And he's passing the most as well, at least on made buckets. The assertion remains that James is the best player on the team, and he keeps deferring to lesser players. But it's entirely possible that James simply isn't the best player in these situations. At least not right now, with this team, with where his game is at now. 

(For comparison's sake, Kobe Bryant is 9-35 this season in that same situation. He also has seven assists in that situation, though the Lakers have been in far more tight games than the Heat.)

("ROME with Jim Rome" debuts on CBS Sports Network April 3rd.  You can follow him on Twitter @JimRome.)
Posted on: February 29, 2012 11:15 am
 

Delonte West denies the 'LeBron rumor'

Posted by Royce Young

If I say "Delonte West and LeBron James," you pretty much know exactly what I'm talking about. And that rumor, while never coming from a real source, never having any kind of substantial legs to it, has carried on for a while.

It came up again a couple weeks ago when LeBron reportedly got into it with a heckler because of it. West did an interview with the Dallas Morning News and tried to put the whole thing to bed once and for all:

“Everywhere I go, first question, ‘Don’t tell me you did that.’ …

“If we want to continue to grow as a human race, what are we teaching our kids if we try to make humor and fun out of stuff like that?” West says of the rumor. “Number one, something like that never happened. I don’t know where they got that from.

“For a strong black woman like that, for people to try to tear her down, that’s terrible. That’s terrible in so many ways.”

West didn't really need to even dignify the rumor with an actual denial, but he did. He dismissed it completely, said it was terrible and called out the human race for spreading it.

I'd love to say "end of story" here, but I know the human race pretty well and that's probably not going to happen. Still, West is on record here saying it's completely not true, which considering where the rumor originated from, is what we should take most seriously.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 6:36 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 8:10 pm
 

Baseline Award Predictions for the season to come

Derrick Rose will play big minutes in the second half and could steal a second MVP from LeBron James. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore 

As the NBA catches its breath after a hurried rush to the season and a whirlwind All-Star Weekend, we turn our attention to the NBA's stretch run, the second half. We're at the point with the trade deadline looming two weeks away where teams will begin to make moves to either ramp up for a playoffs run or bottom out in rebuilding projects. Will the Heat keep up their pace? Can the Bulls finally get healthy and if so, how good can they be then? Are the Thunder legitimate title contenders? Are the Spurs "back" once again?

So many questions, so little time.

A huge element in the second half of the season is going to be minutes. The best teams will rest their players while desperate teams will have to play to the bone. The Bulls are somehow a great team and a desperate team. They want every advantage including homecourt advantage, and below we'll tell you how that could impact the MVP race.

So we present the Baseline Awards second-half predictions, focused on who will be taking the various trophies for the second half of the season.

Projected Eastern Conference Player of the Second Half: Derrick Rose

LeBron James is the runaway MVP leader, the best player on the planet, and was nearly flawless in the first half, despite the end to that All-Star Game. So why isn't he here? Because the Heat will have a top-two seed locked up by early April, and then you're going to see James take more and more games off as the Heat rest him for the playoffs. What he does between now and then will determine is MVP, but in the meantime, Tom Thibodeau plays his players 35 minutes a game even when they're hurt. Assuming that the All-Star rest helped Rose recover from the back and leg injuries that hampered him this season, he'll get the minutes, he'll get the production, he'll get the win. I expect big things from the reigning MVP in the second half.

Projected Western Conference Player of the Second Half: Kevin Durant

It's terrifying that a kid, a 23-year-old kid, can lead the league in scoring two years in a row and then make the leap. But that's what Durant has done. Everything is better. His efficiency. His productivity. His team. His leadership. His clutch play. And his defense. It's a phenomenal streak the kid's on and there's zero reason to think he'll slow down in the second half. The West is just competitive enough for the Thunder to keep Durant playing nightly and yet not good enough to challenge the Thunder for the top spot in the West (though San Antonio's making a good show of it).

Most-Likely to Succeed: Miami Heat

They have it together. They have no discernible weaknesses, outside of "Can LeBron James succeed in the clutch?" and that's not a regular season concern. The offense is clicking, their chemistry is good, they've had fewer distractions, they're playing at an elite level on both sides of the ball and their injuries haven't been significant. It may be sickening, but it doesn't change the fact that this is the baddest team in the land until further notice.

Least-Likely to Succeed: Charlotte Bobcats

Here's the worst thing about the Bobcats. They don't even have anything of value to firesell. Tyrus Thomas is having a terrible season, Corey Maggette has been injured, D.J. Augustin is just good enough to be their best player and not good enough to draw huge offers on the market. Gerald Henderson may be their best asset and he's too good to move. If they keep this team, they'll be horrible. If they sell off the parts for future components, they'll be terrible. If the lottery doesn't help this team, it's going to be classified as negligible cruelty.

Best Dressed: Indiana Pacers throwbacks

These jerseys are awesome. (Getty Images)


Those blues and yellows are just sharp as all get out.

Worst Dressed: Memphis Grizzlies throwbacks

This, not so much a crime against fashion as a crime against humanity. (Getty Images)


Let us never speak of these again.

Class Clown: JaVale McGee

Runs the other direction, denies things he's said into tape recorders, goes for triple-doubles in blowouts, makes ridiculous goaltends and has somehow failed to get better with John Wall on his team. McGee is funny. But someone really needs to get into his head and straighten things out or a world of potential is going to be lost.

Projected Defensive Player of the Year: Luol Deng

Andre Iguodala deserves it, but Deng may end up winning it simply based on reputation. If Deng is healthy, he's the best perimeter defender in the league. Dwight Howard has struggled at times and hasn't been as dominant. If the coaches really vote this one right, Deng should win as long as he continues to get healthy and Tom Thibodeau doesn't run him into the ground.

Smoke and Mirrors Award for False Relevance: Atlanta Hawks

Always a top-six team in the standings, never a top-six team in the conference. The Hawks have managed to survive a drop-off from Joe Johnson and the injury to Al Horford. The team is supremely in need of a complete makeover but none seems imminent. So they will continue to drift through the season, winning games and getting no credit, losing games and getting hammered, never going up or down. Consistency in this league is often heralded as success. But with the Hawks, it's always seen as evidence of either a mediocre student over-achieving or an excellent student never living up to potential.

Most Likely to Blow It Up: Boston Celtics

The holes have not been plugged. They have not rounded into shape. They have not righted the ship. The experience has not come through. The casual approach to conditioning has not yielded the results they want. They did not coast, they stumbled. They did not cruise, they crashed. They are alive only because of Rajon Rondo and the weakness of the Eastern Conference. The time has come to end this and move on. Sentimentality is not worth wasting time, because if the big free agents get re-aligned and the Celtics have nothing to move forward with, they'll be back in the stone age they were in before the Big 3 arrived.

Carmelo Anthony Award for MeloDrama: Dwight Howard

"I want a trade! But I love it here! But I want more input on decisions in the front office! But I'm just trying to play! I'm not talking about free agency! Except to talk to you about how much I'm not talking about it! I love my teammates! But I love Deron Williams! I love New York! But I love Orlando! I love my mom! But I make my own decisions!"

It's like watching a teenage girl decide between four boys while the one she's with can't figure out what he did wrong.

Projected Rookie of the Year: Kyrie Irving

Ricky Rubio's a nice story. Neat passes. Irving should have been an All-Star and is going to be an elite player in this league over the next decade. Cleveland's rebuild is on its way, just 19 months removed from "The Decision."

Most Likely to be Traded: Stephen Jackson

Steve Nash could go. Dwight Howard might go. Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Josh Smith, Rajon Rondo, Jose Calderon. But Jackson is owed a lot of money, the Bucks don't need him, and he and Skiles hate each other. He's a bad fit in the locker room and a bad fit on the floor. It's .50 cents on the dollar time in Milwaukee for CapJack.

The 2012 Version of the 2011 Memphis Grizzlies:

The Houston Rockets. I'm starting to buy into Houston as a surprise team. Memphis used team play, star power from Zach Randolph and a unique matchup with San Antonio to get into the second round. Houston has a Should-Be-All-Star in Kyle Lowry and world of versatility in lineups they can deploy. Throw in the work that Kevin McHale has done and the fact they're 4-4 this year against division opponents (three of which are likely playoff teams) and you've got a great shot at Houston making a surprising, if ultimately futile, run. Hurray, another mid-first-round lottery pick!

Most Likely to Hit the Rookie Wall:

MarShon Brooks. Brooks is going to be a terrific scorer in this league for a long time. He's got an elite set of offensive skills and tremendous length. He can play in an offense, too. But his game is predicated on shooting percentages and that's the kind of thing that can drop off when it hits the rookie wall. I full expect to have jinxed Brooks and he will now go out and win Rookie of the Year. His play in the win over the Knicks last week was superb.

Most Likely to Make Himself a Name by Season's End: Paul George

Should have won the dunk contest. Played Rose great last year. The Pacers are better than last year and are primed for a playoff run. Getting them out of the postseason is going to be a serious job, and George is going to be a huge part of it. More versatile on offense, better on defense, athletic, explosive, with range. George isn't going to score 40. But he's going to be a part of a lot of playoff wins for Indiana and is going to be that guy in the playoffs that make sports bars of opposing teams groan "Not that guy again!" time and time over. By the way, I've started calling him Mega-Man because it seems like every game he picks up a new ability he didn't have before.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 12:05 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 10:43 am
 

LeBron James wants to 'take back' late turnover

Fourth quarter. LeBron James. Again. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ben Golliver   

ORLANDO -- Another big stage, and another big mistake. This one doesn't really count, but don't try telling LeBron James that. 

The Miami Heat's prodigiously talented forward began Sunday night by dancing during playing introductions, shimmying with a wide smile for a global television audience. He ended it looking away from the camera, struggling both to maintain eye contact and to keep his head up.

That transformation is one we've seen before, and it was brought on by an all too familiar set of circumstances: the ball was in his hands, the game's outcome was in the balance and the fourth quarter clock was ticking towards zero.  Given the opportunity to win or tie the 2012 All-Star Game, James chose to do what he so often did during the 2011 Finals: He passed. Twice. 

With the East trailing the West, 151-149, James handled the ball out of an inbounds play, opting to find New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams, who popped open on a screen, rather than attack the basket. Wiliams launched a deep three, which rimmed off. After a scramble for the ball, James came up with possession with roughly five seconds remaining, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant hawking him near midcourt. James took a few dribbles to his right as New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony popped open to the top of the 3-point line, calling for the ball. Instead, James looked off Anthony and attempted to fire a pass through traffic to Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who was cutting in from the left corner.

The pass never had a chance, as Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin stepped over to easily intercept it. The East was forced to foul immediately to stop the clock, and the West went on to win, 152-149.

"I'll get over with it," a dejected looking James said during a post-game interview on TNT. "I can't turn the ball over like that, let my teammates down like that."

Later, in a post-game press conference, a somber James explained what was going through his head on the final possession.

"I seen my teammate open for a split-second, I told him I seen him open the first time and I didn't release the ball," he said. "When I tried to throw it late -- that's what usually happens and it results in a turnover. Definitely wish I could have that one back."

Here's video of James' late turnover in the 2012 All-Star Game via YouTube user nbaus3030 and @Jose3030.


Williams told reporters that he was the "last option" on the designed play out of the timeout. 

"Coach drew up a great play to give me a shot. There were a couple different options, I was the last option. We went through it and we missed our shot." 

East coach Tom Thibodeau, whose Chicago Bulls were eliminated by the Heat during the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, said he considered calling another timeout after the loose ball but opted instead to let one of the league's best play-makers do his thing.

"He made a lot of big plays," Thibodeau said. "He made big shots, great reads. You have a scramble situation and an open floor, and you have a very dynamic scorer and a guy with great vision and good decision-making. You know, you can call a time-out and it allows the defense to get set, or you can trust his ability to make a play. Throughout his career, he's shown that he's capable of making big plays."

Given the overwhelming attention paid to James' late-game passivity against the Dallas Mavericks, how was this sequence of events anything but an absurd self-fulfilling prophecy?

James' reputation for late-game struggles added another chapter, and his turnover provided fuel for his critics while erasing an MVP-caliber performance. He finished with a team-high 36 points plus 7 assists, 6 rebounds and countless highlight reel dunks.  James even shot 3-for-4 in the fourth quarter, including 2 3-pointers, helping the East dig out of a 21-point deficit. Those shots and plays will be lost in another wave of "He doesn't want to be The Man when it matters" shouting. All the game-dominating good things disappeared with his fourth and final turnover of the game.

In a twist sure to intensity the endless "Kobe vs. LeBron, LeBron vs. Kobe" debate, James admitted that Bryant, a 5-time champion who has fashioned a reputation for never being bashful about pulling the trigger in late-game situations, was egging him on to shoot.

"Yeah, he was telling me to shoot it," James said. "You have some of the best competitors out on the floor at the same time. Not only me and Kobe, but D. Wade and [Kevin] Durant and [Anthony] and [Chris Paul] and all the rest of the guys. We all wanted to win, and it came down to the last minute or last seconds."

In those final seconds, James took the loss. And his reaction made it clear, because of the circumstances and the recent history, that he took it harder than you might expect given that it won't show up in the standings. No one -- not even a "King" -- likes to repeat the same mistakes.
Posted on: February 26, 2012 10:15 pm
 

Video: LeBron-Wade oop madness at ASG

By Matt Moore 

There's a reason I refer to the Heat from time to time this season as a flying death machine. It's because of things like this. From NBAHighlightsHQ on YouTube:

 


Behind-the-back-to-Wade-one-touch-b
ack-to-James-alley-oop-oh-dear-enjo
y-the-show.
Posted on: February 26, 2012 9:38 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 9:57 pm
 

Video: LeBron goes cradle-rock windmill at ASG

By Matt Moore 

LeBron put on a show (not as good of one as Kevin Durant) at the All-Star Game and showed why everyone was so irritated he missed the dunk contest for the third year in a row. This time it was a modified switch-hand, cradle-rock windmill. You know. Run of the mill stuff. 

 

So he's got that going for him.
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:55 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 2:13 pm
 

Durant: LeBron, stars need to save Dunk Contest

Kevin Durant wants to stop things like this from happening. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ben Golliver 

There's a consensus: something big needs to change so that the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest never happens again.

In the immediate aftermath of Saturday night's Slam Dunk Contest, which was marred by zero All-Star participants, terrible dunks, too many scripted stories, an absence of judges and a sketchy fan voting process, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant made a clear statement: The NBA's biggest stars need to participate in future Dunk Contests.

"It's time for LeBron James, Mr. [Russell] Westbrook, Mr. [Derrick] Rose and Dwyane Wade to get in the Dunk Contest," Durant tweeted.

"Not me but I agree with the others," Wade replied.

On Friday, James told reporters that he would consider participating in the Dunk Contest if there was a substantial winner-take-all prize.

Durant's list of participants for a dream Dunk Contest is interesting, but imperfect.

Clearly, James is the holy grail. In the heart of his prime at 27 years old, he is probably the NBA's second best in-game dunker, trailing only Blake Griffin. A master of catching lobs, finishing with authority and getting way, way off the ground, he's an absolute no-brainer. Imagine full-court alley-oops, broken rims, backboard slapping. He could even dunk a ball then dunk his headband with the other hand as a response to all his hairline haters. He needs to do a Dunk Contest.

Westbrook, Durant's teammate in Oklahoma City, is an excellent pick as well. He flies at the rim like a scud missile, taking off from deep and finishing with plenty of force. He's got the charisma and moxie not to stand toe-to-toe with James too. He wouldn't shrink. He should definitely be in.

At 30, Wade's dunking prime is probably behind him, although he's still capable of putting anyone in the league on a poster. He would be better cast as the teammate/hype man for James and, realstically, these two would never face off against each other under any circumstances. If the Alpha Dog stuff is bad now, imagine the outcry and headlines if Wade somehow managed to upset James in a Dunk Contest. Let him throw the lob passes and dish out the daps.

Rose's inclusion by Durant is questionable. His physical talents are beyond reproach but his specialty is finishing lay-ups in traffic and/or after drawing contact, not dunking free of obstacles. Would he be compelling in this format? His personality doesn't exactly scream Dunk Contest. He's a technically sound dunker but his efforts are more likely to make you go "mmm" rather than get off your feet and scream.

If James and Westbrook are in this and Wade and Rose are out, the final two spots should be filled by Griffin -- obviously -- and either Dwight Howard... or Durant himself. Howard has been there, done that with the Dunk Contest many times before, but he always seemed to back up the stupid costumes and props with memorable dunks. His flying Superman slam/shove dunk, for example, will stand as a classic for decades. One of the all-time "Wow" Dunk Contest moments. Who wouldn't trade all of Saturday night's contest for that one dunk? No one.

While Durant is not a prototypical Slam Dunk competitor, he has absurd length, good hops, a star's personality and a respect for the history of the game that would likely inspire him to new levels of creativity. If anyone is going to come up wtih something that's never been done before, it's Durant. His wingspan would allow for up and under dunks from the baseline or behind the backboard. Surely James Harden could be on hand to provide the necessary passes and encouragement.

But this is exactly the problem. Everyone, including Durant, wants to see the stars in the Dunk Contest. But none of the stars, including Durant, is ready to step up and nominate themselves to be thrown into the ring.

No doubt, some prize money needs to be involved here, given how central an event this is on the NBA calendar. But the stars should look back at what past Dunk Contests have done for the likes of Howard and Griffin and realize that the "there's nothing to gain and so much to lose" argument doesn't hold much water. Does anyone honestly believe that James would fall on his face during a Dunk Contest? Come on. He would kill it, just like Griffin did last year, and then he would profit off of it for years to come, just like Griffin is doing right now.

Hopefully Durant's Twiter plea is the first in a wave that will finally convince these guys to suck it up and get out there. Peer pressure, in this case, is a very good thing.

Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:29 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 8:19 pm
 

Pay the winner $1 million and LeBron might dunk

LeBron James would consider the dunk contest, for a price. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

ORLANDO -- It's been NBA All-Star Saturday's Moby Dick. LeBron James, and his superhuman athletic ability, in the dunk contest.

Without ever really having the intention to participate, LeBron has often dropped hints like he would. He indicated he might during the 2010 All-Star Game in Dallas and then didn't rule out the notion for this year's in Orlando. But LeBron has never intended to dunk.

"It’s not me," he said Friday. "I’m not a dunk contest type of guy. I’m an in-game dunker. I kind of improvise during the game.''

But what if there was a prize? LeBron was asked if someone tossed a $1 million winner-take-all bounty on it, if he'd take part.

"Then I'd reconsider," he said "Wouldn't you?"

Yeah, I definitely would, but I also can't jump-fly like LeBron James. So I'm not entirely sure that's applicable, LeBron.

Not to unnecessarily rag on LeBron here, but like every other player, he loves to talk about how All-Star Weekend is about the fans. It's a showcase for fans to enjoy the game, see the stars and celebrate the NBA. Which is why people want LeBron in the dunk contest. Because it would be a ton of fun for fans. Except LeBron says he'd only consider if you paid him a million smackers. Not a great look.

On the other hand, LeBron is someone worth upwards of $50 million but an extra million is an extra million. And despite LeBron saying he's an in-game dunker, you know he'd blow us away. Blake Griffin said the same thing and I'd say his dunk contest performance was acceptable.

The great ones have all dunked though. Players like Michael Jordan, Julius Irving, Kobe Bryant -- they all took time to do it. That doesn't mean LeBron should feel inclined or obligated, but if it's a status thing, he shouldn't worry about it.

So if you want to see LeBron dunk, start raising some money to hand to the winner. Otherwise, I wouldn't bank on King James playing along.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com