Deep into the night, somewhere far into the recesses of American Airlines Arena, LeBron showed more emotion, more chutzpah than he had all night when a reporter dared to ask him what had went wrong during his eight point, four turnover, disappearing-act of a performance against Dallas in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
“Definitely didn’t play great offensively,” James snapped, the weight of Scottie Pippen’s dastardly comparisons of him to Michael Jordan seemingly on his shoulders. “I’ve got to do a better job of being more assertive. It’s as simple as that.”
But is anything ever really simple where King James and his polarizing cast of subordinates are concerned? James turned in a game for the ages—albeit replete with all the wrong kind of memories— Tuesday night, as the Mavs wiggled free late of the Heat’s game-long stranglehold to post an almost gifted, certainly surprising series-tying 86-83 victory.
“He struggled, point blank and period,” teammate Chris Bosh said of James. “Doesn’t matter what the score sheet says, he struggled being LeBron.”
On the night, James shot just 3-of-11, and committed a pair of late second half turnovers that further determined his team’s shocking fate. But even more than the misses, far more than all the miscues, it was the way in which James went about sealing his night of infamy that left most aghast.
So detached, almost disinterested did James appear in what some might think the biggest game of his life, the aftermath of it left even him feeling the need to psychologically reaffirm himself.
“I’m confident in my ability,” said James. “I’ll come back in Game 5 and do the things that need to be done. They haven’t changed their coverages on me…I still got to make plays for my team, but also make plays for myself.”
A nation awaits. —Glenn Minnis