Let me preface this by saying, I’m a huge LeBron James fan. But I’m finally starting to see what other people mean when they criticize him.
As a person who was rooting for the Heat, I grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of production from Miami’s Big 3.
Although, LBJ did out perform his fellow Big 3 counterparts, 7 points was nowhere near enough to lead his team to victory.
Kevin Durant’s 17 points in the 4th quarter was the MVP-like performance we have begged to see from LeBron but have accustomed to seeing from Durant.
No question, LeBron has played extraordinarily well in the first three rounds of the playoffs, with his stats increasing with each passing series, but no one will remember those performances if he and his team continue to lose fourth quarters, and subsequently, lose games to the Thunder.
I’ve been taking flack for saying that LeBron “shrunk” in the fourth quarter of last night’s game.
Yes, he averaged the same amount of points in the first three quarters as in the final quarter in which he had 7.
Yes, his teammates did their best hide-and-go-seek impression last night in the fourth quarter and were absolutely no help.
Yes, Sefolosha did a great job playing lockdown defense, much like he did against San Antonio.
But, if he is supposed to be the M.V.P., and the dubbed “King James” then wouldn’t overcoming all those obstacles be something he can accomplish?
It’s unfair to sentence him to another Final of fourth quarter failures, but if this sample was a preview of what’s to come, how can the LeBron haters not get the upper hand in arguing the talent and impact of the league’s most polarizing figure.
There were already droves of NBA fans (mostly LeBron haters) who disapproved of LeBron winning the MVP, claiming that Kevin Durant deserved the award more. This has become their opportunity to be proven right.
If LeBron wants to shut up his critics, he will HAVE TO win this series, in close games, with beast mode-like performances. He is going to have to guard Durant one-on-one, and take the final shot.
With all that said, the more I argue about how LeBron needs to play better in the fourth with Miami Heat fans, and my prediction of Thunder in 6 (although, as of last night I was rooting for the Heat) my allegiance may be turning away from James and the Heatles, to the team who has the lanky scorer with ice water in his veins.
I’ve spent 9 years rooting for LeBron, and although the 3 M.V.P.’s are nice, it’s not satisfying enough for me. He needs to prove to me that I wasn’t wasting my time and loyalty on a guy who can’t win it all.
Do I believe he can do it? Absolutely.
Will he? Probably, but, not this year.
**Side note for NBA and WWE fans**
Did anyone else laugh at that shot of Pat Reilly and Alonzo Mourning standing in the crowd with their long faces? To me, it resembled the dynamic between John Laurenitis and David Otunga on Monday Night Raw.