by Justin Cherot
“LeBron… seriously… I’m not that guy. Never been. BUT WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? There’s passive-aggressive. There’s timid. There’s five-year old who snuck into [‘]Paranormal Activity[‘] without his parents. Then you.” – some ignorant writer on Twitter last night.
Minutes later, LeBron James left that writer looking dumber than Chris Brown and Drake. After first hitting that tough bank shot against Thabo Sefolosha, he even decided to hit some extremely clutch free throws (in the process making that writer look even stupider since that writer tweeted moments before that he would miss at least one freebie).
If you’re a little slow, yes… the writer in this instance was me (I even gave you a second chance to click the link).
In my defense, up until that bank shot (which I won’t classify as luck but definitely not a shot that he makes seven of ten times), had James done anything to sway conventional wisdom? For the first three quarters he looked like the best player on the planet–like he usually does, getting to the rim and actually taking his smaller defenders downlow for punishing baskets. But for the first six minutes that he actually played in the 4th (Erik Spoelstra decided to rest him for the first three minutes of the quarter), James looked timid–like he usually does. He would pass off immediately upon touching the ball. When he did try to create offense, he started about 35 feet away from the basket, often settling for off-balance jumpers.
In other words, LeBron was LeBron: brilliant for the first three quarters and indifferent during the fourth, almost letting Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder steal a game that, quite frankly, they had no business being in.
But that tough shot over Sefolosha changed everything.
It wasn’t just the fact that he hit that shot. During a time-out, the cameras caught him emphatically yelling at his teammates. In his nine years of professional basketball, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him that passionate in a huddle. I certainly don’t ever recall him yelling at teammates.
Of course, there’s always moment for pause. Let’s not get completely carried away. When Durant hit that absolutely cold-blooded three-pointer to bring his team to within two points after trailing literally the entire game, it seemed like “here we go again” moment on two levels. Obviously, Durant’s utter brilliance in clutch moments during this playoff run has become commonplace, but is anybody talking about how James just stood there and didn’t even attempt to go for the ball after it squirted out of Dwyane Wade‘s hands?
The moral of this story is that not all is forgiven. James still has a ways to go before we should trust him in a big moment like we do with Durant. We’re not quite there yet.
But, at the same time, for one night, James came through when it mattered…
even if he did get some help from the referees.