LeBron James Shrinks in Closing Seconds?
And truth be told, there are no consequences for failing on a long 3-pointer in the final seconds of an All-Star game, no consequences for driving past (Kobe) Bryant and missing a runner or missing a pull-up jumper. No one would’ve remembered a missed shot down two points to the Western Conference, but a long, wayward, get-this-ball-out-of-my-hands pass lingers longer.
Six seconds left, the ball swung back to (LeBron) James, and he threw a long crosscourt pass that the West’s Blake Griffin grabbed before it could ever reach Wade. The expressions on Bryant and Carmelo Anthony’s faces – one an opponent and an enemy, one a teammate and a close friend – were unmistakable: Are you kidding me, LeBron?
That’s what lingers over the NBA Finals for James. Every great player misses in great moments, every great player fails. But this sport wants to see James’ willingness to take the chance. James had been brilliant with 36 points and six 3-pointers. He’d brought the Eastern Conference back with a ferocious fourth quarter, and, well, everyone was still waiting on him to complete the comeback and blister Bryant, and James couldn’t get that ball out of his hands fast enough.