I already know the basketball world is getting on LeBron James for the loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals. My response, stop it, he didn’t choke at all.
Mid-way through the fourth quarter ABC made sure they put up a stat showing James only scored 2 points in the final chapter of Game 1. I was on Twitter (@LaChance_Writer) and read all the James’ bashing, four quarter jokes and the “here we go again” comments. Actually, I dropped one of the latter and was about to write a discouraging post about how James has to wake up and realize he is one of the biggest superstars the league has ever seen.
Then I watched the game again.
He didn’t pass the ball off, look like he was in his own little world outside of the arena or slack on defense like he did in the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. This time around, he inserted himself and pushed his team to try to climb back into the game that they had already gave up.
James attacked the basket. The ball didn’t go in, but he was driving for layups and taking guys off his teammates for looks; they didn’t make them either. Once the quarter and the game was done, Miami scored 12 fourth quarter points and James had more than half of them with seven. Yes, James supporters and basketball purests wish he would have done more and made a dramatic, spectacular Reggie Miller run.
Unfortunately, Scott Brooks and the Thunder know who James is and are ready to throw the kitchen sink at him if they have to; they did. When James strode into the lane late in the game, he was met by not one, not two, but three defenders.
This means, it wasn’t James choking or him having a bad quarter. What happened was, he met a great defensive effort and had an okay quarter. Superman was taking back to reality to realize he isn’t going to beat every team by himself.
Besides the heat scoring a beyond pedestrian 12-fourth quarter points, the overall team defensive effort on the Thunder was lackluster in the second half. NBA.com’s John Schuhmann tweeted the Thunder were down 66-62, then scored on 21 of their last 29 possessions. James can’t have everything to do with that since one man can’t defend five guys.
James played a solid game as he led the Heat with 30 points, grabbed nine rebounds, had four assists and stole the ball four times. Actually, those are great numbers and proves he tried to get not only his team involved but himself as well.
Miami might not win the series or they could win the first NBA Championship of the many predicted. Either way, James is playing like the superstar he is and shouldn’t be associated with choking. If he loses, associate him with losing, not suicide.