Blog Entry

LeBron James wants to 'take back' late turnover

Posted on: February 27, 2012 12:05 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 10:43 am
Fourth quarter. LeBron James. Again. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ben Golliver   

ORLANDO -- Another big stage, and another big mistake. This one doesn't really count, but don't try telling LeBron James that. 

The Miami Heat's prodigiously talented forward began Sunday night by dancing during playing introductions, shimmying with a wide smile for a global television audience. He ended it looking away from the camera, struggling both to maintain eye contact and to keep his head up.

That transformation is one we've seen before, and it was brought on by an all too familiar set of circumstances: the ball was in his hands, the game's outcome was in the balance and the fourth quarter clock was ticking towards zero.  Given the opportunity to win or tie the 2012 All-Star Game, James chose to do what he so often did during the 2011 Finals: He passed. Twice. 

With the East trailing the West, 151-149, James handled the ball out of an inbounds play, opting to find New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams, who popped open on a screen, rather than attack the basket. Wiliams launched a deep three, which rimmed off. After a scramble for the ball, James came up with possession with roughly five seconds remaining, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant hawking him near midcourt. James took a few dribbles to his right as New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony popped open to the top of the 3-point line, calling for the ball. Instead, James looked off Anthony and attempted to fire a pass through traffic to Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who was cutting in from the left corner.

The pass never had a chance, as Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin stepped over to easily intercept it. The East was forced to foul immediately to stop the clock, and the West went on to win, 152-149.

"I'll get over with it," a dejected looking James said during a post-game interview on TNT. "I can't turn the ball over like that, let my teammates down like that."

Later, in a post-game press conference, a somber James explained what was going through his head on the final possession.

"I seen my teammate open for a split-second, I told him I seen him open the first time and I didn't release the ball," he said. "When I tried to throw it late -- that's what usually happens and it results in a turnover. Definitely wish I could have that one back."

Here's video of James' late turnover in the 2012 All-Star Game via YouTube user nbaus3030 and @Jose3030.

Williams told reporters that he was the "last option" on the designed play out of the timeout. 

"Coach drew up a great play to give me a shot. There were a couple different options, I was the last option. We went through it and we missed our shot." 

East coach Tom Thibodeau, whose Chicago Bulls were eliminated by the Heat during the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, said he considered calling another timeout after the loose ball but opted instead to let one of the league's best play-makers do his thing.

"He made a lot of big plays," Thibodeau said. "He made big shots, great reads. You have a scramble situation and an open floor, and you have a very dynamic scorer and a guy with great vision and good decision-making. You know, you can call a time-out and it allows the defense to get set, or you can trust his ability to make a play. Throughout his career, he's shown that he's capable of making big plays."

Given the overwhelming attention paid to James' late-game passivity against the Dallas Mavericks, how was this sequence of events anything but an absurd self-fulfilling prophecy?

James' reputation for late-game struggles added another chapter, and his turnover provided fuel for his critics while erasing an MVP-caliber performance. He finished with a team-high 36 points plus 7 assists, 6 rebounds and countless highlight reel dunks.  James even shot 3-for-4 in the fourth quarter, including 2 3-pointers, helping the East dig out of a 21-point deficit. Those shots and plays will be lost in another wave of "He doesn't want to be The Man when it matters" shouting. All the game-dominating good things disappeared with his fourth and final turnover of the game.

In a twist sure to intensity the endless "Kobe vs. LeBron, LeBron vs. Kobe" debate, James admitted that Bryant, a 5-time champion who has fashioned a reputation for never being bashful about pulling the trigger in late-game situations, was egging him on to shoot.

"Yeah, he was telling me to shoot it," James said. "You have some of the best competitors out on the floor at the same time. Not only me and Kobe, but D. Wade and [Kevin] Durant and [Anthony] and [Chris Paul] and all the rest of the guys. We all wanted to win, and it came down to the last minute or last seconds."

In those final seconds, James took the loss. And his reaction made it clear, because of the circumstances and the recent history, that he took it harder than you might expect given that it won't show up in the standings. No one -- not even a "King" -- likes to repeat the same mistakes.

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: February 28, 2012 7:37 pm

LeBron James wants to 'take back' late turnover

<blockquote class="QuoteMessage">LeBron take the failures and atack them up next to the trophies , you can't have one without the other.  Use them as fuel and keep pursuing your goal,</blockquote>

<br />Great words of wisdom.  Our society is filled with people unwilling to fail while in the spotlight.  Here is a one cares enough about you to recall your failures.  Those that do wont point them out.  If someone enjoys pointing out your flaws and failures ask yourself this question.  Does what this person think change the outcome of my life?  Never let someone elses criticism define who you are.

Since: Nov 6, 2009
Posted on: February 28, 2012 11:48 am

LeBron James wants to 'take back' late turnover

All right stokomo, but I would argue most hated basketball player for me since Laimbeer.
And obviously being a Bulls fan would skew my bitterness.
So I would put LeBron, Laimbeer, Rodman (Detroit days, of course), John Starks / Patrick Ewing / Oakley (Knicks days, of course), and moving up the list is Tyler Hansbrough and any other Pacer goon.  The one difference LeBron has is that he actually seems like a nice guy and is NOT a dirty player...just a follower.

Who cares about Humphries?  Marbury?  Nah...just annoying. 

Since: Jun 3, 2007
Posted on: February 28, 2012 10:10 am

LeBron James wants to 'take back' late turnover

Riverlobo.......Well said!!!

Since: Jun 6, 2011
Posted on: February 28, 2012 10:01 am

LeBron James wants to 'take back' late turnover

Along with trophies come failures, they dont't lok quite as sexy as the trophies.

Our society unfortunately seems to revel in both and love to rub the noses of the stars that fail.  I say get over it no matter how much of a hater you are you will never be like LeBron, nor are you a bettter person by putting him down.

LeBron take the failures and atack them up next to the trophies , you can't have one without the other.  Use them as fuel and keep pursuing your goal,

For those of you neophytes, Barkley never won, Karl Malone never won , John Stockton never won , Mr. Clutch didnt win until late in his career lsosing numerous Game 6's and 7's to the C's...get a life, stop hating so much, look in the mirror , be a bit more positive.  It will do us all some good.



Since: Jun 3, 2007
Posted on: February 27, 2012 10:10 pm

LeBron James wants to 'take back' late turnover

most hated since Laimbeer? Might be a stretch.... how bout Barry Bonds, Stephen Marbury, Vick, Tiger, T.O., and last year's most hated (by votes) NBA player Kris Humphries.....

Since: Nov 6, 2009
Posted on: February 27, 2012 7:59 pm

LeBron James wants to 'take back' late turnover

Also, the reason that so many people dislike LeBron (besides the obvious) is we watch him act like a buffoon (dancing before games), a follower (doing whatever D Wade does..."fake coughing" when Dirk was sick..doing the Cam Newton "Superman" schtick right after Wade does it), working so hard on his "brand" and "image" (his reps calling NBC before the Bulls game to tell them he is riding his bike to the game), and then acting like Mr. Contrite after the game.  I hate to say it (kind of), but I am a grown man that has to cheer against him.  I realize I should not really care, but can't help it...he is just the most unlikeable athlete since Bill Laimbeer for me.

Since: Nov 6, 2009
Posted on: February 27, 2012 7:55 pm

LeBron James wants to 'take back' late turnover

Anyone else sick of the Lebron can't finish BS?
Not me.
It's as if all these ignorant people have had their perception molded by ESPN's ability to distort reality
True that ESPN distorts reality, but it was actually on ESPN that I saw stats that show LBJ's better field goal % on closing possessions.
But field goal % isn't what the haters are seeing.  They watch him absolutely dominate a game for 40+ minutes, then disappear and defer on final possessions.
As a Bulls fan, I enjoyed watching Thibideau set up LBJ to make something in his head while he was coaching him.

Since: Aug 27, 2008
Posted on: February 27, 2012 7:42 pm

LeBron James wants to 'take back' late turnover

Look the thing about the choke label is that I don't care about it.  When you see his body language and hear him talk after the game is that there is one person who it clearly bothers and whose head it is clearly in:  LeBron James.  That's the part that I can't stand honestly.  It's nice banter for the LeBron haters and the LeBron lovers to toss around.  It's actually good for the NBA and it raises fan interest.  I just want to see his killer instinct come in the big moments.  I don't care if he makes that 3 at the end of the game or not, but I want to see him take it.  A 6'8" dynamo has a better chance of getting his shot off than anyone.  Instead he tries that ill-advised cross court pass.  LeBron James can't be better than he is from a statistical and talent standpoint, but he needs to be better in how he approaches the most clutch moments. 

Since: Feb 25, 2012
Posted on: February 27, 2012 7:34 pm

LeBron James wants to 'take back' late turnover

He will forever be cursed for what he did to the Cavs.  The great ones thrive on having the ball at the end w/ the game on the line.  The great ones go off if they do not have the game in their hands at the end. He mailed it in against the Celtics and in sports there is nothing lower then a teammate that quits on his team and himself.  And Bron lose that rat that looks like it crawled on your face and moved in. A brothers beard look ok when kept short and well kept. But w/ the Baron Davis and La Boob just look hideous. What makes a Blackman think that an afro that looks like hell on a black will look any better on their face? It is not by chance that many black females straighten their afros to duplicate the look of a white person’s hair. That nappy look is not becoming.

Since: Aug 22, 2011
Posted on: February 27, 2012 7:32 pm

LeBron James wants to 'take back' late turnover

Forget the end of the game, Lebron was great, has been MVP twice of all-star, MVP of NBA, the issue I have is letting his friend Chris Paul bounce ball off his @$$...  Jordan would have killed him, Bird would be in jail still for what he did to someone who did that...  Basically the game is a joke, to bad, but Lebron was great, get over ending games, it is old, great player, weakness, to nice, he should have run over Chris Paul for his streetball move... WEAK!!

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