LeBron James finished the game with 30 points, 12 of them coming in the fourth period. But down the stretch of the game, when the Heat needed him the most, he went scoreless and was not engaged in the offense. Photo by Lynne Sladky (AP)
James goes scoreless for an eight-minute stretch in the fourth and deciding period.
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
Miami Heat super star LeBron James once again proved his critics right. In a pivotal Game 5 at home against the Boston Celtics, James disappeared…again!
James mostly gets criticized for not taking the final shot to win a game, but the problem is much larger than that. He not only shies away from the big moment, but he also disappears for long stretches when his team needs him the most. In the fourth period of a close game, James was nowhere to be found as Dwyane Wade had to carry the team.
But looking at James’ stat line, it looks like he had a great game, and his supporters will point to that. James finished the game with 30 points and 12 rebounds, and in the fourth period he scored 12 points. The stats say that he was great, and he contributed in the period that mattered the most.
But the play-by-play tells a different story about James’ fourth period play.
James started the period on fire, and by the 8:10 mark he was 3-for-3, with two of those shots being 3-point baskets. He also hit both of the free throws that he attempted. That gives him 10 points.
James was playing great up until that point, but like in every meaningful fourth period that he plays in, he disappeared. Over the next eight minutes of play he did not score a single point. His lack of production did not come because he went cold, no, his lack of production was because he only took one shot over that period of time.
James attempted a shot at the 7:30 mark of the fourth period and that was pretty much it for him. He did not take another shot until :09 seconds left in the game, when the Celtics gave him an uncontested lay up because they did not want to risk a foul when they had a four point lead, which could have given the Heat a 3-point play opportunity.
Just like numerous games last year in the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, when James was not engaged in the offense when they needed him the most, last night the supposed greatest player in the game was not a factor when it mattered the most, leaving the game on Wade’s shoulders.
James is a spectacular player for three and a half periods, and he fills up the stat sheet, but in the most critical moments he cannot be depended on, which is why he is still not a champion. At some point people are going to have to stop saying that he is the best player in the game, because he simply does not get the job done.
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