LeBron James’ passive Game 1 fails for Heat
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — This wasn’t the dreaded return of the outdated LeBron James narrative, no matter how many folks forgot that those days have passed and came rushing to his defense in the later stages of the Miami Heat’s Game 1 stumble against the San Antonio Spurs in these NBA Finals.
With every passive possession, every missed opportunity and all those moments where all of American Airlines Arena waited for him to take over, the supporters that track his every move on Twitter and beyond grew wary the same old story was coming. LeBron is choking — like in the Heat’s 2010 debacle against the Dallas Mavericks. LeBron isn’t ready for this — just like in 2007 when these same Spurs humbled his Cleveland Cavaliers in a sweep. They braced for the familiar refrains, but they never came. They won’t be here anytime soon, either.
Those days when the first instinct was to question the best player on the planet are over. James’ championship, the personal breakthroughs and his greatness that leaves even fellow legends in awe have forced us to look deeper when he’s anything less than transcendent.
This, as teammate Shane Battier put it afterward, was LeBron sizing up a foe that — by the looks of things in the opener — plans on making his road to a second title as rocky as possible.
“If you watch him every day like I do, the narrative is not about how many points he scores,” Battier told USA TODAY Sports. “The narrative that’s going to define his legacy is that he does what it takes to win. I think people are still trying to force that (score-first mentality) down his throat, but that’s not who he is. He’s going to make the right play, the right basketball play, and that’s his greatness.
“We had a ton of open shots. We had more open shots tonight than we had against (the) Indiana (Pacers) and Chicago (Bulls) combined (in the previous two rounds), so that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Only James can log a triple-double and still seem to come up short; such is the curse … [For more on LeBron James' passive Game 1 fails for Heat vs. Spurs, click here.]