LeBron James: Still not too shabby in Game 5

10 Jun

Since the time expired last night on Game 5 of the NBA Finals, all the talk has been about the Miami Heat’s LeBron James and his performance – or, many contend, the lack thereof. Here’s the funny part: James scored 17 points, snatched 10 rebounds, and zinged 10 assists. He earned that triple-double in the NBA Finals – against a team stacked with some of the best, most-experienced veteran players (Dirk Nowitzki is the obvious one for the Dallas Mavericks, but Jason Kidd and Jason Terry aren’t exactly slouches either) in the best league in the world.

I’m not contesting the claims that James needs to be more assertive creating his own shot and going to the basket, particularly in the fourth quarter, but to say a guy is letting his team down when he gets a triple-double against the best available competition … Well, I think that’s a little bit ridiculous. How many guys ever get a triple double? How many guys do it in the NBA Finals? How many guys do it when there are players of the caliber of Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh alongside them on the court?

James is an incredible basketball player, but he is still a normal person. Just because someone has unimaginable oodles of God-given talent doesn’t mean that he will always be perfect and be the superhero everyone wants him to be.

Consider, also, that if Wade hadn’t been hurt (hip contusion) for a good part of last night’s game, the ending might have been very different. In that case, we probably wouldn’t even be having this conversation. All said, I just think it’s a little silly to be targeting James when basketball is a team game. It’s been proven many times, from Little League all the way to professional sports, that simply throwing together talented players doesn’t always – certainly doesn’t always immediately – equal success. This is the first year of the James-Wade-Bosh trio, and I’d say they’ve done pretty well for themselves so far.

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