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LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

Posted on: June 4, 2011 4:09 pm
Edited on: June 4, 2011 4:11 pm
 
LeBron James says he needs to be more aggressive and that no one, including Shawn Marion, can stop him one-on-one.  lebron-shawnPosted by Ben Golliver.

DALLAS -- Miami Heat forward LeBron James is always going to get his numbers. No matter who guards him, how often he faces double teams or what position he's asked to play, James produces, and produces big.

Over his last seven NBA seasons, James has averaged at least 26.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists. Not a single other NBA player has hit those numbers once. 

Through two games in the NBA Finals, James's scoring and passing numbers have taken a hit. Despite playing 42.5 minutes per game, James is averaging 24 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists and the Heat are averaging just 92.5 points as a team, down nearly 10 points from their regular season average of 102.1.

These aren't eye-popping declines given that defenses tighten up in the postseason, but any time James isn't performing to his usual standard, questions start getting asked. For starters: Is Mavericks forward Shawn Marion throwing him off of his game?

At his media availability on Saturday, James complimented Marion's performances during Game 1 and Game 2, but seemed to scoff at the notion that Marion individually had succeeded in slowing him down.

"I think Shawn Marion has done a great job," James said. "Especially offensively. He's picked up his game offensively. Hanging around the rim, getting some lay-ups, getting some tip-backs, playing around the rim. His activity throughout the first two games has been pretty good."

But what about the defensive end?

"I don't feel like it's one guy in this league that can stop me one-on-one," James said. "There's always a defense that's looking at me when I have the ball. He's the guy that's guarding me, but there's no one guy that can guard me."

When Marion has matched up against James, he's done about as well as can be expected. He's played both assertively and intelligently, competing regardless of whether he gets beaten for a highlight dunk. Late in Game 2, James was bottled up about as tightly as you'll see and he responded by forcing up late three-pointers against the shot clock that didn't fall, a critical factor in Dallas' massive comeback.

If James wasn't going to give him credit, Marion was happy to give it to himself.

"I've been doing it my whole career," Marion said of his defense on Saturday. "If you go back and look at my whole career, I've done it -- point guards all the way to big men. It's just another day at work."

Marion wanted to make it clear that his defensive abilities aren't simply a product of a new role he's taken on as he's gotten older or with this particular Mavericks team.

"I've always been a defensive stopper," Marion said. "I've always played defense. I had to go from playing the three to playing power forward. Name me players in this league who can do that. 6-foot=7, 225 pounds. Nobody can do that probably in the next generation coming. I've always prided myself on playing both ends of the floor. I'm a competitor."

So if it wasn't Marion stopping him, what's gone wrong offensively in James' opinion?

James attributed his decreased scoring to a lack of aggressiveness and pointed to the fact that he has attempted just six free throws in the first two Finals games combined.

"I do have to be more aggressive in the paint," James said. "Six free throws in two games -- I do that in my sleep in one game. So that's not me. I'm going to make a concerted effort to be more aggressive to try to get to the rim, create some more opportunities for myself and my teammates."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he pinpointed three late-game possessions that were "very poor" and later Wade explained that those three possessions were the forced, errant threes from himself and James. "

James seemed to agree, singling out one aspect of Dallas' defense that he believed deserved praise: the Mavericks' unexpected decision to aggressively defend him on the perimeter during pick-and-rolls late in the game.

"They did some things defensively that they hadn't done throughout the first two games all the way. They started to blitz me [and Heat guard Dwyane Wade's] pick-and-rolls, a lot our sets kept us on the perimeter. We didn't get into our sets early enough to give us more time. So we had to take contested long-range threes." 

Forcing James to take contested, long-range threes is the definition of succeeding defensively against him. Marion deserves the praise for his Game 2 performance, even if James wasn't willing to give it to him.
Comments

Since: May 29, 2011
Posted on: June 5, 2011 7:15 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

Every GM in the league takes Durant over James. Even ask Pat Riley and he trades James for Durant in a heartbeat. James isn't that good and if it wasn't for the refs not allowing players to breath on him while they guard him he would not be that good. Durant is better and the Heat would win every game by 25 if he was on their team instead of James.



Since: Aug 6, 2010
Posted on: June 5, 2011 6:38 pm
 

You're right mrrickers, it's the mind

Your fourth sentence "With his size....", reminds me of how I used to think about Chris Webber. Webber was a proto-Lebron, he had the ability to do pretty much anything he wanted, but he would not learn post-up moves-he'd only lament that Juwan Howard had a better post game w/o trying to develop one. Lebron could stand to learn some post moves.  So many of today's players copied Jordan's game, but w/o Jordan's mind-Michael never shot FADEAWAY THREES. But, Kobe does it, Lebron does it, Wade does it, Carmelo does it, EVERY current star player shoots ill-advised fadeaways. When Jordan was near the three point line he shot a proper jumper. It's mental, Jordan THOUGHT the game better than they do.



Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: June 5, 2011 6:31 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

Yeah, that ref bias is why he has only shot SIX free throws in the first two games combined. Clown.
They're saving those bias calls for later in the series. Can't make it too obvious right away.



Since: Aug 6, 2010
Posted on: June 5, 2011 6:22 pm
 

@Orange and Aqua-Is this really that deep?

For you to break out the n-word, is beyond the pale. For you to say you HATE a athlete...for what? Something is wrong with you, not Lebron.
I would hope that you find some perspective, it's not that deep. You do your race a disservice.



Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: June 5, 2011 6:13 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

bronson:

"I dislike LeBron as much as anybody else but he's right. All he has to do is barrel into the defender and the refs will call a foul every time. He's too big, fast and strong to stop from driving and his star power gives him the benefit of most contact calls. This is why he can still score 20-30 even when he's shooting poorly and there's really nothing anyone can do except hope he chokes.
"

Yeah, that ref bias is why he has only shot SIX free throws in the first two games combined. Clown.




Since: Nov 20, 2006
Posted on: June 5, 2011 6:11 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

when last have you beten your man off the dribbe lebron?....When last have you gotten to the rim without a screen or on a fast break?.....Give me a break "LeBron" you've gotten heavier and slow, your first step is not what it used to be and dont have the agiliity you once had to beat anyone of the dribble, hence you've been settling for jumpers, and using your off arm more than ever to clear space. Wade and Bosh are the only threats to beat their man off the dribble on your team.



Since: May 28, 2009
Posted on: June 5, 2011 5:05 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

Stay classy Steeler fan. LeBron is a jerk, but using the female pronoun as a derogatory term in some sort of pathetic Bill Parcells-evoking diatribe makes you look like the arrogant d-bag.



Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: June 5, 2011 3:19 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

Nobody has to stop LeChoke at the end of games because she either passes the ball to a teammate--making him take the shot, cries foul to the zebras or misses the shot--just ask those fans in cleveland--this arrogant d-bag is all that is wrong with the NBA--she is the rex ryan of this league--all talk and no titles.  Get in your car get your LeSkank momma and drive away--nobody cares about you and your big head.  Oh and dont forget to pick up your daddy--D-West on the way out



Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: June 5, 2011 2:40 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

I dislike LeBron as much as anybody else but he's right. All he has to do is barrel into the defender and the refs will call a foul every time. He's too big, fast and strong to stop from driving and his star power gives him the benefit of most contact calls. This is why he can still score 20-30 even when he's shooting poorly and there's really nothing anyone can do except hope he chokes.



Since: Mar 20, 2011
Posted on: June 5, 2011 2:39 pm
 

LeBron James: Marion can't stop me by himself

Couldn't have said it better myself..The arrogance of this guy, I have not seen in sport before and I follow all th major sports.


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