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DeShawn Stevenson says LeBron “checked out,” is that news?

Jun 8, 2011, 4:27 PM EDT

Jason Kidd (R) of the Dallas Mavericks g Getty Images

Because somehow a Game 5 of the NBA finals with the series tied 2-2 isn’t enough, there seems to be some manufactured drama going regarding LeBron James. And it isn’t even his fault this time.

First comes this from the Associated Press:

Mavericks guard DeShawn Stevenson is directing some sharp words toward Miami’s LeBron James on the eve of Game 5 in the NBA finals. Stevenson says the Heat forward “checked out” in the final minutes of Game 4 on Tuesday night, when James was held to eight points – the lowest he managed in 90 career playoff games.

In general, when you see a controversial quote where only two words are used and not a sentence or paragraph, you should question the context. PBT’s reporters on the ground said Stevenson’s comments on the whole were not that incendiary. Follow up quotes from ESPN Dallas bear that out:

Dwyane Wade had it going and sometimes you get like that when a player has it going,” Stevenson said Wednesday afternoon…

“Our defense was good, but at the same time he wasn’t in attack mode,” said Stevenson, who scored 11 in Game 4. “We all know that LeBron can get to the basket and when he has his shot going, it’s pretty tough to keep him from the free throw line.”

Besides, didn’t LeBron James say over and over he didn’t play well in Game 4? That’s right, he did Tuesday night and again Wednesday at media availability after practice.

“Definitely didn’t play great offensively,” James said after Tuesday’s Game 4, in which he scored 8 points. “I got to do a better job of being more assertive offensively, not staying out of rhythm offensively the whole game.”

Some are going to try and say Stevenson’s comments fired up LeBron, who will undoubtedly come out much more aggressive in Game 5. Most media see it that way. But LeBron’s play is what should do that — he had Jason Kidd and Jason Terry on him for long stretches of that game and didn’t demand the ball, didn’t attack the mismatch. You can say he “checked out” or “played like Game 5 against Boston last year” or however you wish to define it. Nobody is really denying it, not even LeBron.

Game 5 already has plenty of drama, and how LeBron comes out will be a big part of that game’s story. But these comments have nothing to do with that.

  1. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    I would offer w/the exception of DWade the entire Heat team has checked out in the 4th quarter of the last 3 games. There is a legit argument they should have won this series already. The last 3 games they have had at least 10 point leads with under 8 min to go and have lost 2 of those 3. I try not to hate on the Heat , but i dont see Jordan’s Bulls, Magic’s Lakers, Birds Celtics, or even Thomas’s Pistons blowing leads like that.

  2. digitalpoo - Jun 8, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    I can understand that LeBron had an off game. He’s only human and he’s entitled to make mistakes. But 8 points on 3-11 shooting? For someone that is as much of a scoring threat as James, you’d think he’d at least try and shoot himself out of the rut. Is it uncommon for james to put of 20 shots on any other night that he’s not doing to well? And why settle for the perimeter jumpshot? James needs to take his own advice and power it into the paint. At least draw the foul. He hasn’t gotten to the line hardly at all this series.

  3. david8726 - Jun 8, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    LeBron’s game was an anomaly. He’d played good all around for the first three finals games, then he served up the worst performance of his career last game. It had been over 400 games since he’d scored fewer than 10 points.

    He’s far too talented and determined to play that badly again. There is simply too much on the line to allow himself to lose like that again.

    I don’t know if the Heat will win the next game. The series seems like a coin flip at this point. But I’m sure LeBron will do much better individually.

    • nfl25 - Jun 8, 2011 at 5:25 PM

      Everyone knows what u r saying is exactly correct. But this is the NBA finals. If he wasn’t being compared to Jordan and all that, it woudnt be a big deal. But being compared to Jordan really puts him under a microscope and everyone can see he doesn’t have that same killer instinct Jordan had. Jordan would never have had a game like that in the finals. I think lebron is a great player but he has some mental things he needs to take care of. He seems very young to me but he is 26

      • nfl25 - Jun 8, 2011 at 5:30 PM

        i trust wade more with the ball in his hands in crunch time if i am the heat. i think he has that killer instinct. he missed that free throw but stuff happens, he looked really tired b4 he shot that free throw. he actually asked them to wipe the ball down so that he could have a couple seconds to catch his breath b4 he shot, as soon as i saw him do that i was thinking he is gonna miss one of two. i think lebron cares too much what others think of him

  4. habibthomas - Jun 8, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    there are no excuses for how lebron checked out in this game. people have tried to say “oh it was the defense” please! what i saw from lebron is exactly what stevenson said. not only did he check out but he became a bystander.

    what i saw was this. lebron would get the ball. make a few dribble moves and seemingly have his man beat then, all of a sudden, just pass the ball then step out of the play.

    i can see how that seems like great defense but its not. its a superstar being passive and handing the work off to his teammates.

    call a spade a spade. lebron is a sidekick and this is wades team

  5. david8726 - Jun 8, 2011 at 6:07 PM


    LeBron isn’t asking you to compare him to Jordan. That’s something the media and fans do themselves because it’s a good story. You can’t be mad at LeBron for not being just like Jordan when he clearly never set out to be just like Mike.

    Jordan was first and foremost a scorer, as well as an all world defender. LeBron has always had a much more well rounded game thanks to his size and passing. He’s muh more like Oscar Robertson than Jordan.

    If LeBron wanted to be Jordan, he would have demanded the ball over the first three games, accepting nothing less than being the leading scorer. Instead, he obviously recognized that Wade has it going on offense in these finals, and has deferred to him.

    And guess what? There is nothing wrong with LeBron embracing his role as Pippen 2.0 when Wade has it going. He cares first and foremost about winning – Not living up to everyone else’s expectations. That’s a good thing.

    FYI, I’m not excusing LeBron for his performance in game 4. He was awful last night and has to play better.

    And he will. I’d expect him to do just as well as he did in games 1 through 3 going forward.

    • savvybynature - Jun 8, 2011 at 9:19 PM

      “Jordan was first and foremost a scorer, as well as an all world defender. LeBron has always had a much more well rounded game thanks to his size and passing.”

      You do know that Jordan once AVERAGED over 11 assists over the course of the 1991 finals series right? Most PGs couldn’t even average that in a finals.

      It’s not like Jordan couldn’t pass the ball. It’s just easier to overlook since he still averaged over 30 points a game that series too.

      I doubt LBJ will ever average over 11 assists per game in a finals. To say he has a “much more well rounded game thanks to his size and passing” is a ridiculous comment. Your argument should have just been “well LBJ is bigger.” I’ll agree with you there, lol. But at this point there is nothing about his game that surpasses what MJ accomplished.

    • philtration - Jun 8, 2011 at 11:06 PM

      So LeBron was just being unselfish unlike that mean old Jordan?
      Who was the man in Cleveland when they went to the finals?
      Was LeBron just being unselfish then too?
      Jordan got 6 rings in 6 Finals.
      Comparing LeBron to Pippen is a better argument since Pippen averaged 19.0 PPG and 8.3 RPG in his Finals appearances.
      Oh… and he got 6 rings too.

      The Finals: LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan

      James 2-6
      Jordan 24-11

      James 43.0
      Jordan 43.0

      James 19.6
      Jordan 33.6

      James .397
      Jordan .481

      James .282
      Jordan .368

      James .698
      Jordan .806

      James 7.1
      Jordan 6.0

      James 6.5
      Jordan 6.0

      James 1.6
      Jordan 1.8

      James 0.4
      Jordan 0.7

      James 4.6
      Jordan 2.4

      • davidly - Jun 9, 2011 at 1:24 PM

        I’ll bet Pipp’s numbers in the finals compare favorably to LJ’s as well.

      • davidly - Jun 9, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        Whoops, sorry. Missed that part.

    • nfl25 - Jun 9, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      dude trust me david, i agree with what u r saying. pippen insinuating lebron could be better than jordan was the worst thing that could happen to lebron

  6. thetooloftools - Jun 8, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    HEY ! Where are all the people who called me a hater? How’d that taste? The reason LeBron diappeared was because after Wade said “they didn’t get me the ball enough late in the game” after a loss, LeBron James decided to do what LeBron James does best. Pout. It was his way of saying, “here, say you want the ball down the stretch, I’ll just shut down and let YOU (Wade) find some onther excuse when we lose”.
    I kid you not. That is LeBron’s mind set. That is his DNA. He already proved he’s Mrs. Wade because he made LeBron join him instead of him joining LeBron. When asked if he would have moved to Cleveland to get a title Wade said “na, no way was I moving to Cleveland”. Fine, I can live with that. But then don’t sit there and tell me how important titles are to you either you two faced mutt. LeBron got played like a fiddle and thus the title “Mrs. Wade”. In Cleveland EVERYTING HAD to go through LeBron (which was his mandate) and when it didn’t work out he blamed the surrounding cast. The surrounding cast was made to stand around while LeBron went ball hog. These are FACTS people. LeBron HAD to get his every night.
    This was LeBron’s message to Wade “be careful what you wish for… you want the ball… here.. have it the whole 4th qtr”. That is the way he is built.
    Don’t hate… appreciate me.
    I know what I’m writing about.
    Having said that… LeBron is going to try to GO OFF in the next game. It could be over by the end of the 3rd qtr unless he’s still pouting.

    • david8726 - Jun 8, 2011 at 7:01 PM

      Do you even realize how absurd that block of text is?

      You’re basically saying that LeBron refused to shoot in the 4th quarter because for some ridiculous reason he wanted to stick it to Dwyane. This is despite the fact that Wade and Bron are great friends and that the team had just won game 3.

      You’re saying that LeBron didn’t care he’d be potentially ruining his team’s chance of victory, even though winning means everything to him at this point.

      You been drinking?

      I bet you’re the kind of person who believes George Bush destroyed the towers and that the moon landing was faked.

      • nfl25 - Jun 8, 2011 at 8:48 PM

        not saying lebron did that but thats somethin terrel owens would do, so it is possible. i actually thought this when i was tryin to figure out why lebron was doing what he was doing but i just feel like it is not possible for him to do it in the finals. he was purposley passing the ball like a hot potato for 2 qaurters, it was odd

    • dirtyassfish - Jun 8, 2011 at 9:59 PM

      thetooloftools there is no way in hell you will get me to read your bigass block of text again , you sir/ma’am are a hater your points are garbage and I really hate the fact that I let your words reaffirm my beliefs that this world is full of mouthbreathing jackholes. When D.Wade & Lebron are celebrating on southbeach you will be sitting in the basement in your sad dark little world looking for the next thing to hate on.

      • thetooloftools - Jun 9, 2011 at 11:36 PM

        :o) you love me. kiss kiss

  7. progress2011 - Jun 8, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Tool of Tools- I want to take this moment to personally to personally apologize to you and all the Cav fans !!! Check my blog history….I have given you guys the business ! I have made every attempt to rub your nose in the mess you have in Cleveland.
    However, this evening I stand corrected ! Because since the Heat blew game 2 and D-Wade and coach Spoelstra said run the offense thru Wade, Lebron has been pouting :

    1. He runs from the defensive end of the floor, all the way to the offensive end, never looking back for the ball to create his offense and just stands in the corner.
    2. He is not even allowing the double team to come to him ( which will create an open Heat player ) before he passes the ball to another player or back to the same player, who passed him the ball.
    3. He is allowing Terry and Kidd to ( who are at least 5 inches shorter and atleast 50 lbs lighter ) to check him 1 on 1 !
    4. When he does attempt a shot, it looks bad, bad angle, difficult double pump, half hearted attempt.
    5. He is traveling with the ball and making other unforced errors.

    I know it has only been 2 games. But what it shows me is that he does not have the mental stamina to be a team player, if he is not ” The Man ” . He cannot be trusted because he is willing to sabotage his teams efforts, to prove a point.
    After watching his lack of character being displayed IN THE FINALS, I don’t care if he ever wins a Championship.
    Furthermore, if the Heat lose, the blame is all his….and no body elses because he has tanked 2 games !
    The city of Miami should run him outta Florida, if they lose !!!

    Go play oversea’s where A.I. just came from with all that drama !

  8. scorp16 - Jun 8, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    WOW…Really..This is the IDIOCRACY Movie isn’t it?…..Matchups favored LebRon in Rounds 1 and 2…They Favor Wade now…..Dallas are you really letting this come down to Wade v Terry…………….

    LeBron had a bad game, granted…ask Chicago how many bad games he had of the 5……………..

    Game 4 came down to a Wade free throw….and LeBron had 8 pts….

    Something tells me LeBron will have a bit more than 8 next game…and Wade..well…….. he will be Wade..the Sorceror (He is a Warlock…………….You ever see a 6’2 guard do what he does?……Never)

    Yeah, good luck Dallas…..coming back to Miami…..Heat 3 Mavs 2

  9. davidly - Jun 9, 2011 at 5:30 AM

    Once again, I am posting a comment about how, once again, the sports-urinalists and the urinanalyzing fans put on full display just how little they know about the game they pretend to watch. Enjoy the game guys. Just don’t get caught up in the hype.

    James didn’t quit.

    The Mavs came up with a plan for game 4 that worked; they shut down Lebron James. The double plus result of his appearing to be uninterested has more to do with that than it does anything else. They made him look like he quit.

    One might be able to say that he didn’t respond aggressively enough in the 4th quarter, but you still have to give credit to the Mavs for that. They flummoxed him.

    Remember folks. There are two pro teams here. Several all-stars, true, but no one on either side is not a professional basketballer. Does anyone here know what that means? Do you realize, for example, how a team of twelfth-men could school any of the NCAA sweet sixteeners?

    On any given night, a pro staff with a pro squad can come up with a plan to beat the other team. When all goes well, it takes more than 48 minutes to adjust. Look for Dallas to try to shut down someone else tonight. And then tell me how uninterested that player was.

  10. allball23 - Jun 9, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    Lebron wasn’t agressive in game 4, just because you have wade and bosh playing well doesn’t mean he should take the night off offensivly. He does not have that killer instinct so he can never be better than jordan. I am sure he will have a big game 5 though. This series is going 7. Hope mavs win

  11. thetooloftools - Jun 9, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    progress2011 – you are leaning what we in Cleveland already knew. apology more then accepted. while david8726 continues to walk in the darkness of ignorance and call names and throw accusations. LeBron is a man/child. A tremendous talent with a beyond fragile ego. I don’t hate or hate on the guy…. I just know his DNA.

  12. philabadboy - Jun 9, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Ok Lebron did’nt Play well.. WE ALL KNOW THAT.. hence i am coming with a different approach.. Miami big 3 plays great attacking the basket.. the problem is Miami may start to attack then start to settle for Jump shots.. thats been their problem against the Mavs this whole Finals, honestly Miami should be up 3-1 right now, Furthermore Miami needs in my opinion to use Eddi House since he is faster than Bibby and a better 3 pointer than Bibby, When you have guys who can attack the rim and a 3 point shooter on the line waiting for the ball (in House/Chalmers or Miller) Miami is way more dangerous, only reason i wouldnt use james jones is because the small forwards in Marion would abuse him offensivley, Eddi House with Chalmers is the supporting killer for the Heats Bench i just hope Spoelstra realizes this cause Bibby has not been Playing great.

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