Yet Again

Those true LeBron fans out there will have seen these games all too often. What is it about LeBron James led teams that cannot win the big matches.

The Knicks added to the Heat’s abysmal record against not only .500 teams, but the other elite teams, and as more of a statement the Knicks did it in Miami, the first time the two All Star teams have played each other.

Miami had the advantage of playing the entire season together, where New York have only had a week, but that seemed to make no difference as the Heat yet again squandered a late lead and were unable to apply the finishing touches, allowing Chicago and Boston to make ground on them in the race for the East’s best record.

James finished with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, but yet again missed the game tying three pointer at the end of the game, the second time he has done so in the last week.

Despite what people say, and the last week will only fuel their argument, LeBron James is one of the best if not the best closers in the game. He is just not the best finisher. I have a closer as someone who rallies the team in the fourth quarter and either reduces the deficit or extends the lead to put them in a position to finish the game. Over the last 5 years James has the highest fourth quarter scoring of any player in the NBA and this demonstrates his ability to close games out. However when James is asked to finish games, and by that I mean a shot to win or tie in the last 10 seconds or so of the game, his record is much less impressive.

Sure you’ll remember buzzer beaters against the Wizards, Golden State and of course his famous game winner in the playoffs against the Magic, and then clutch baskets with only seconds remaining against Portland, LA and Chicago. But despite his success, the failures jump out a lot more. When you talk about the best player in the game, the few in denial who believe Kobe is still the best simply use the argument that he is more clutch.

Clutch is a pretty far out criteria. Clutch does not exist. It’s an invention by popular culture to explain either a big shot or a big miss, in any sport. But how can you honestly say one person is more clutch than another. Because they’ve hit more shots, because they have a better ratio of success? If you think about the players that are the most ‘clutch’ in the league, majority of them are very good shooters of the ball. Bryant, Anthony, Billups, Allen, Pierce. LeBron James is not a very good shooter of the ball. When he gets going he’s as good as anyone, but it is not even close to his best attribute. This de-values his ‘clutch’ abilities.

Now most of you will argue that clutch does exist and that LeBron doesn’t have it. Because it’s astonishing how many haters you find on a website named the King James Gospel, you’d think they’d realise what the site is about and steer clear but obviously not.

Clutch really means they are less nervous taking the big shot. Saying Kobe is more clutch than LeBron is saying Kobe is less nervous to take the big shots. It’s a pretty ludicrous claim, especially as an outsider.

Nonetheless if it did exist, the Heat have none of it.

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