sad lebron
I wonder if Scottie Pippen is starting to have second thoughts...

The mockery of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James: They...they wouldn't make fun of Dirk being sick during Game 4 right before Game 5 would they? Or at the very least not on camera.

Okay. Never mind, then.

The Miami cHeat: They shot the ball exceptionally well (52.9 percent), hit 40 percent of their threes (8-for-20), knocked down most of their free throws (21-for-26) and got a huge boost off the bench from a red-hot Mario Chalmers (15 points in 23 minutes on 4-for-6 from downtown and 3-for-3 from the line). And, once again, they had the lead with under five minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

And, once again, they lost. The Mavs closed the game on a 17-4 run.

There were circumstances. D-Wade injured his hip running into the brick wall known as Brian Cardinal. And the Mavericks were just on fire: 56.5 percent from the field and an absolutely blistering 68.4 percent from beyond the arc. Dallas banged home 13 three-pointers. Several of them were wide open, but a handful of them were bad shots, Jason Terry's trey with 33 seconds left seemed to go in by divine providence.

Teams can win games based on disproportionately hot long-distance shooting. It's happened all season. Heck, Miami did it during these playoffs against the Celtics and Bulls. And the Mavs did it last night.

That wasn't the whole story, though. The cHeat were handling the rock like it was coated in creamy butter. They committed 18 turnovers for 21 points going the other way. The Nazgul combined for 12 of those 18 miscues.

Speaking of the Terrible Trio, they did some statistical damage. LeBron had a triple-double (17 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists), Wade scored 23 points and went 10-for-12 from the line. And the Boshtrich finished with a double-double (19 points, 10 boards). And yet those three guys finished with plus-minus scores of -11, 13 and -13, respectively. They all committed damaging fourth quarter turnovers, and Wade and Bosh both missed foul shots in the final 12 minutes.

And then there was...

LeBron James: Basketbawful reader dwade posted the following comment:

I asked Lebron for change for a dollar. He gave me 75 cents and said, "Sorry, I don't have a 4th quarter."

Heading into last night's game, James posted "Now or Never!!" on his Twitter page. When asked about that Tweet, LeBron said: "It was a personal message to myself. That's just how I was feeling at that time, honestly. It was just a personal message to myself and had nothing to do with anyone else besides myself. I was just in a zone at that point … this is a big game, probably the biggest game of my life, well, not probably, it is. And I'm approaching it that way."


Look, it's not like LeBron didn't play well. He had a triple-double in an NBA Finals game. He made several smart basketball plays. But he didn't take over. Didn't transcend. Didn't prove what everybody loves to say about him: That he's the best basketball player in the world with a chance to be the greatest ever.

I mean...two fourth quarter points? Two?! And they came with 29 seconds left in a three score game on a layup the Mavs basically conceded. He wasn't just outscored down the stretch by Nowitzki (8 points in the fourth) and Jason Terry (also 8 points). He was outscored by J.J. Barea (6 points in the fourth).

Even ESPN's John Hollinger was left scratching his head:

Overall, he scored 17 points but needed 46 minutes to do it. The average NBA player this season, per 46 minutes, scored 18.9 points.

He shot 8-of-19 without a single 3-pointer. That's not good for anybody, let alone a player of this talent.

He had two free throw attempts. TWO. This continued a series-long trend of James being either unable or unwilling to attack the rim -- he has only 16 free throw attempts for the series.

He has 11 fourth-quarter points in five games, despite playing every minute of every fourth quarter. Eleven points in 60 minutes. That’s a wee bit south of superstar territory. Actually, it's a wee bit south of Juwan Howard territory -- he averaged 14 points per 60 minutes this season. Every Miami player except Joel Anthony scored at a higher rate.

Again, this isn't just any random guy. This is a two-time MVP who was the most coveted free agent in NBA history. This is one of the best players of all time, regardless of what happens in the next few days. This is the reason the Heat had a championship parade last July ... because when they got LeBron, they got the promise of dominating games like this one.

Or so they thought.
Boy, I bet Gregg Doyal is feeling pretty smug right about now. And...yep. He sure is.

Some more fodder from ESPN Stats and Information:

LeBron James has now scored just 2 points combined in the 4th quarter of the last 2 games. He is Miami's 5TH leading scorer over that span, despite playing all 24 minutes... He does however have 5 of the team's 10 assists...

From Elias: LeBron James is averaging 2.2 PPG during the 4th quarter of the NBA Finals. That is the fourth-lowest by a former MVP in any NBA Finals series over the last 25 seasons. The difference between James and the other guys on this list? His most recent MVP award came just one season ago whereas the others were well past their MVP-winning seasons.

Needless to say, LeBron James' scoring has been non-existent in the 4th quarter of this series... James is averaging just 2.2 PPG in the 4th quarter of these finals after averaging 8.2 in the Eastern Conference Finals over the Bulls. LeBron has yet to score more than five points in the 4th quarter of any game in the NBA Finals and has scored 2 or fewer points each of the last four games.
Mike Bibby and Joel Anthony: Turrible. Just turrible.

Shawn Marion's masturbatory celebratory gesture: Basketbawful reader Ash posted this animated gif of Shawn Marion air jerking. Speaking of animated gifs, Apocalypse34 posted this one of official Bill Kennedy apparently doing the Time Warp.

Anyway, here's some (admittedly bad) video of Marion's air wank:

Can you imagine the outrage if LeBron had done that? Speaking of which, TrueHoop's Henry Abbott makes a fair point about the Mavs' celebration late in last night's game versus the cHeat's back in Game 2. Let's face it: Everything the cHeat do is so much more hateable.

Tyson Chandler, quote machine: On a late (and slightly iffy) charge he drew on LeBron: "I felt like it was a charge. I [had] seen him drive baseline a couple of times in the course of this game and actually in a couple of games now. I’ve been thinking, 'You know if I could get there and set and make him think I’m going to jump I can get a charge.' [It] just so happened to be at a key time."

Jason Terry, quote machine: "We are getting the same looks we knew we would get. After Games 1 and 2, you watch it on film, you see it and then you realize where you're going to have the opportunities. I said to myself, I said to my teammates, 'We're not going to continue to miss those open shots that we're getting.' And so, again, being confident, preparing, getting extra shots in, in those spots is what allow you to go out in the game. And when you get those opportunities, knock them down."

Erik Spoelstra, quote machine: "They made their shots. This is a shot-making team. We were aware of that before we came into the series. They can really extend your defense and you have to be active and athletic, all of these things."

Jason Kidd, quote machine: "You're never too young or too old to always improve your game. At 38, I've always felt that I had to improve my shooting if I want to be on the floor and help my teammates out. As I've gotten older, it's just about timing and not so much scoring 20 points or having 15 assists or 10 rebounds. It's just being at the right place at the right time."

DeShawn Stevenson: On Brian Cardinal's surprisingly effective 10 minutes: "Brian hit a big 3, took a key charge and tried to take a charge on Dwyane and [Wade] hurt his hip. We have guys that have been in the league for a long time and are ready. It says a lot about our team with Brian coming in there having not played a lot of minutes in the playoffs and he's in the Finals giving his all. We just have guys in here that are very confident. We're a family."

LeBron James, quote machine: "I could have made a couple of more plays for my team. But at the end of the day, all it's about is a win or a loss. Triple-double means absolutely nothing in a loss. So we will be better in Game 6 on Sunday."

Dwyane Wade, quote machine: "I don't talk about injuries -- it was unfortunate I had to leave the game, but I came back and finished. Once you're on the court, you're on the court. I don't have no excuses. I'm smart enough to play the game without obviously being 100 percent. That's all I did when I came back. I'll be fine Sunday,” Wade said. “The good thing about life, good thing about this game, we get another opportunity, another crack at it. We'll do whatever it takes to win [Game 6]. We're confident."

Chris Bosh, quote machine: "We fought hard all season for home-court advantage. We're down 3-2. We protect home court, we win the series, so we just have to keep that in mind."

Chris' NBA Finals Lacktion Ledger: Joel Anthony went 100% from the field (on one attempt) in 16:12 as starting center, but fouled thricely for a 3:2 Voskuhl.

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Anonymous flunze said...
The most impressing stat to show how unable "The Frozen One" is to perform in the 4th:

In Crunchtime (under 5 mins to play & margin under 5 pts) he scored ZERO points in all finals games this year!

This stat was shown during the 4th last night. He then scored one basket, but this came with Dallas leading by more than five...

Anonymous D. Highmore said...
I'm beginning to think that Pip's a closet Mavs fan and the whole "Better than Jordan" thing was just an elaborate stat curse...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wasn't the foul from Cardinal on Wade, in which Wade got hurt, almost an offensivefoul? I would've thought so...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
[old man grump warning]

What happened to the intensity of players? In the 80s and 90s, there wasn't a team alive that was 2-2 in the finals that looked relaxed and jovial. The occasional joke may have flown, but the second it was over players had an intense brooding about them. You could see that winning the damn title meant everything.

Blogger Brandon said...
@Anonymous: Cardinal clearly leaned over and threw his shoulder into Wade. Maybe his feet were set, but there was nothing stationary about him.

Also, to call the Chandler drawn charge call "slightly iffy" is an understatement. Chandler's foot was in the restricted area and I'm not sure he was set in the first place. Considering James made the layup, that's a pretty big swing at a big point in the game.

Yes, Dallas won thanks to absolutely blistering shooting, but that call was more than iffy.

Blogger Will said...
Speaking of animated gifs, Apocalypse34 posted this one of official Bill Kennedy apparently doing the Time Warp.
Sorry Bawful, he neither jumped to the left not stepped to the right.
I remember before Game 4 LeBron was giving a pep talk and he said the the Heat had their backs against the wall. At the time I just laughed at this stupid tactic, but really he was prophesying.
WV- denesses: whenever I play Super Smash Bros., I like to use de Nesses.

Anonymous Matt said...
I hope while LeBron James is in his hotel room the next couple nights he realizes how his legacy is getting tarnished right before his eyes. If he wants to be the greatest of all time, this is not how the greatest play. Say he just wants to win and that's why he joined Wade in Miami; well the Heat aren't going to win anything if he plays like this. Does he really enjoy getting punked by DeShawn Stevenson and Jason Terry? STEVENSON and TERRY??

The thing is if the Heat win this series and comeback, nobody will remember LeBron's game 4 and 5. But if they lose, even if the Heat win the title the next six years, nobody will let LeBron live down the 2011 NBA finals. I believe in LeBron James, and he has two games left to prove why he has that tattoo on his back and why he calls himself the chosen one

Anonymous lechuckie said...
A. lebron looked really tired. i think spoelstra has really done a bod job in managing playing time. that being said, minutes shouldn't be an issue for bron as he hasn't really done much on the court with wade doing most of the ballhandling and carrying the offense.

B. i guess pippen's stat curse really worked, huh?

C. could it be that james was just playing possum? with games 6-7 at home, he could really explode and will his team to glory. surely, it's going to be more of a story rather than sweeping the mavs. remember, this guy seems to be looking for being in the news every now and then, right?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I wish the media would start calling Wade out on this drama queen stuff. He seems to always get 'hurt' or 'sick' right before big games, but manages to 'gut it out' to play the hero. I don't believe a word of it. You don't hurt your hip and then seek contact on every play. You don't slam your left hip (the injured one) into the opponents in order to make space.

If he didn't have a history of this, I wouldn't say he's faking. But it is over and over and over again. He's always not 100 percent as if he's trying to have a flu game every single night. (And that doesn't include his silly jumps into the crowd every chance he gets and his wincing act at the end of every single game (see Boston finale)

Anonymous ChrisLTD said...
These games have been amazing to watch. So closely contested, lots of big shots and momentum swings. It's almost as if the Mavs an Heat know this is the last NBA basketball we'll get to see for a while.

Anonymous JJ said...
LOL, I saw during the game, "Heat is 4-0 following a loss" and I was thinking stat curse!

After this (non)performance, I'm pretty sure LeBron can't take over a 4th quarter consistently until he improves his offensive repertoire. It's pretty obvious he relies solely on his athleticism to score on his opponents and he has no go-to move. So, he has trouble finding openings unless it's 1v1, which Mavs usually don't allow.

Also, it seems like LBJ completely forgot how to draw fouls and get to the free throw line. He had a few times where he got the defender in the air, but he still didn't draw fouls. He needs lessons from Wade and Dirk. I bet if Wade/LeBron/Bosh attacks the rim every game and can get Chandler in early foul trouble, they'll probably win all the games without too much trouble.

I'm not sure if I want Mavs to win, but Dirk deserves it. This would be one heck of a redemption from '06.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@Brandon - Chandler didn't have to be outside of the restricted area in this case in order to draw a charge. As per the official NBA rules on positioning (from "EXCEPTION: Any player may be legally positioned within the "restricted area" if the offensive player receives the ball within the Lower Defensive Box." SVG explained the call during the game if I recall, and has a breakdown of the play up.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
lechuckie - i think spoelstra has really done a bad job in managing playing time

What choice does he have?

Blogger Cortez said...
"...could it be that James was just playing possum?"

Could be, but not likely. He's simply performing to what is nature/attitude dictates he is, which is an Upscale Role Player(tm). To believe he is "playing possum" is the near equivalent to saying he is shaving points to solidify is personal legacy. In many respects, risking a loss for your team with the hopes of raising your own status would be more of an asshole act than any of the other garbage he's done thus far.

But don't celebrate yet Heat haters. Remember, James is not a regular role player. He could very well explode in the last two games because he IS, after all, an "Upscale" role player. But, him dominating the ball may not fare well for the Heat either. They haven't been winning like that thus far and there is only a finite number of possessions in a game. Every shot he takes is a shot someone else isn't taking so he would have to be on fire and everyone else would have to perform an adequate rate without even touching the ball for long stretches.

When the season started I said two things...

1.LeBron James is an Upscale Role Player.

2.When are these other bums going to have a chance to contribute? They have three perimeter players who's primary attribute is having the ball and scoring.

James, admittedly, diminished the second concern by being more of an URP than even I thought he would ever be.

Blogger Cortez said...
"In the 80s and 90s, there wasn't a team alive that was 2-2 in the finals that looked relaxed and jovial"

My theory is that in the 80's/90's the players didn't make enough money to laugh off big game losses. Loosing (accepting), and laughing while making a low/mid level NBA salary with $0 significant endorsements.

Example: '85 Lakers
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar $1,530,000
Michael Cooper $336,000
Magic Johnson $2,500,000
Earl Jones $90,000
Mitch Kupchak $1,150,000
Ronnie Lester $120,000
Bob McAdoo $923,000
Mike McGee $200,000
Kurt Rambis $325,000
Byron Scott $350,000
Larry Spriggs $90,000
Jamaal Wilkes $860,000
James Worthy $400,000

Losing, and the reputation hit that came with it, meant the difference between working at 50 or living a life of relative leisure.

Blogger Caleb Smith said...
@Will. Yeah, but... it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane.

Blogger Brandon said...
@Anon: Good breakdown from Refcalls. Kind of a weird rule, IMO, but okay.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yeah, LeBron needs too score more in the fourth, but it seems like some are over looking his play making a bit. He did have, what, 4 assists in the fourth quarter?

Not a fan of either of these teams by the way. However, it also seems like Dallas is getting touch fouls on them which should probably be a non-call, and also getting away with similar fouls on the other end. Refs just seem a bit inconsistent to me. Of course, in Miami this will be reversed.

Blogger stephanie g said...
Brian Cardinal injured the best player on the opposing team, forced LeBron into a TO, and hit a three. MVP! MVP!

At the risk of turning into a one trick pony, I wonder how long until LeBron's diminished athleticism becomes noted in the national media. Maybe in the middle of next season? He's reinvented himself as a jump shooter but he never had a great touch and when he can't hit these long shots like in Boston and Chicago he can't do much but pass. He can still dunk in the open court and off cuts to the basket, but he's getting blocked by the rim more than ever off dribble pentration, can't finish layups, can't get around Kidd or Marion or even Asik. The whole PF playing as a SF idea has finally run aground and he has no post game or mid-range touch.

I wonder when's the last time a player did so much damage to his legacy in such a short amount of time. Ewing got completely emasculated by Hakeem in the finals. Kobe in '04 finals, and giving up the 3-1 lead over the Suns, but he went on to win more and made up for it. Ditto with "Tragic" Johnson, plus he had already won his rookie year and had that amazing game 6 along with Jamaal Wilkes and no Kareem. LeBron could do the same, or still could in the next 2 games, but the whiplash from the ECF to now has been incredible. Hooray information age.

Blogger Andy said...
"I hope while LeBron James is in his hotel room the next couple nights he realizes how his legacy is getting tarnished right before his eyes."

I honestly don't think Lebron cares. Or rather, his idea of having a legacy is getting tons of endorsements, having fun with his buddies, maybe getting his own reality tv series at some point, and generally getting to act like a celebrity. Actually winning stuff would be nice, too, but he's not pathologically consumed by it the way great players tend to be.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous Drew said...
Good job whoever posted as dwade getting some recognition for one of the oldest jokes in the NBA!

The Heat do still have home court advantage...Sunday will tell us a lot about their ability and will to win.

Anonymous Tree said...
Attention Heat fans: in case you still don't understand why the casual NBA fan hates that team, please refer to the video mocking Dirk as exhibit #1268 (rough estimate). I saw that before the game and was blown away. With the way Dirk has dominated the 4th q's of this series - and the way LeBron has disappeared - why on earth would HE be mocking Dirk.

LeBron is almost done proving 2 things correct:

1. Karma is indeed a bitch
2. He couldn't win on his own, he needed a real superstar that could deliver in the biggest moments (i.e. the Finals vs rounds 1-3). This series, in an odd way, has shown his decision to be the correct one. Kudos to James for at least being open with it. If the Heat pull this out, it's because Wade is the man.

Further, a lot of talk the last few days from Heat fans about how they should have been up 3-1 or won already, how they "deserved" this championship ... The alternate take is that the Mavs are one missed shot away from having already won.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

broken LeAnkle?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dwyane Wade, quote machine: "I don't talk about injuries -- I just start wincing and hobbling every time a camera is on me. You know, everything is fine when the ball is in play, but once there is a break I'm barely able to stand."

I love that he got hurt or not while flopping, there was absolutely no reason to go down on that play.

Blogger Wormboy said...
Yeah, I'll reinforce that. When Wade got hurt, I said "karma is indeed a bitch." My wife even said, "what the hell are you talking about?"

But yeah, James is getting some karma.

There were some bad calls each way. But sure looked like Brian Cardinal got jobbed when Wade got the charge call against him. Maybe from a different angle Cardinal leaned in, but from the angles I saw he seemed well established.

Anonymous LeaveLebronAlone said...
Lebron's gonna show all you haters when he scores 2 points in the 4th on Sunday!

Blogger BJ said...
Mike Fisher pointed it out -- THEY ARE MOCKING THE MAN THEY CANNOT STOP.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
The pre game mocking of Dirk was stupid. Plain stupid. I cannot defend this in any way.

Blogger Greg said...
Dwyane Wade and LeBron James coughing -

Anonymous Shrugz said...
for those who keep believing what the announcers say as fact (my gawd I'm sick of whiney announcers)

Blocks/Charge: A block/charge foul occurs when a defender tries to get in front of his man to stop him from going in that direction. If he does not get into a legal defensive position and contact occurs, it is a blocking foul. If he gets to a legal position and the offensive player runs into him it is an offensive foul. In both situations, if the contact is minimal, no foul may be called. To
get into a legal position defending against the dribbler, the defender just needs to get in front of him. On a drive to the basket, the defender must get to his position before the shooter starts his upward shooting motion. For most other cases, the defender must get into position and allow enough distance for the offensive player to stop and/or change direction.

Restricted Area: Any player may be in the “restricted area” if the offensive player receives the ball in the lower defensive box. If contact between players takes place on this type of play it does not necessarily mean a foul has been committed. The official must judge whether the contact is negligible and/or incidental, judging each situation separately.

Lebron caught the ball in the lower restricted area

and for Brian Cardinal's foul please remember YOUR FEET don't have to be set. he just has to be INFRONT of the player

Blogger Barry said...
I never understood the hate some people have for LeBron. Kobe, Garnett, Jordan, Bruce Bowen; those hateable in their own way.

But if you take a step back from the crazy, topsy-turvy world of professional basketball, LeBron is just hilarious in the village-idiot vein. When he's not being awesome on the court, that's when the magic happens.

Plus LeBronJamesEgo on Twitter makes my day, everyday.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Oh god please not another argument over the interpretation of NBA rules regarding a block/charge.

If we go there, I want to re-open the MJ vs. Kobe argument or maybe even what constitutes "gathering" the ball. We could then finish up by sorting out once and for all whether Shawn Kemp (pre-Cleveland) was better than the Mailman in his prime.

Or we could just let sleeping dogs lie!

Anonymous jj said...
wow i never thought the cheat could get more unlikeable..

coughing to make fun of the player who outscored both of you in the forth two games in a row? really?

moral victory, i guess

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You guys are missing the point. Wade isn't mocking Dirk's illness. He's mocking what he perceives is bad acting. Wade kind of feels he is the Deniro of faking injuries and is issuing out constructive criticism.

Step 1: Act like you don't want to focus on it despite playing it up every chance you get on camera and doing TWO Willis Reed walk-ons.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
If we're going to talk about the refereeing, how about the ridiculous T on Marion after a clear double-dribble by LeBron? Or Wade moving his pivot foot 3 times in one play? Or the clear flagrant by Anthony that wasn't called?

The Refereeing seems to me to favour the Heat. I'm nothing if not biased, of course.