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Video: With game on line LeBron passes. Again. Heat lose

Mar 3, 2012, 2:05 AM EDT

It was like reliving the All-Star Game.

LeBron James was at the heart of a comeback from 18-points down for the Heat — he had 19 points in the second half and controlled a lot of the key plays. He had another great game.

But with the Heat down one with 4.5 seconds left LeBron got the ball and drove, drew two defenders then passed to Udonis Haslem for a 16-foot jumper that missed, and the Jazz beat the Heat 99-98. That ended the Heat’s nine-game winning streak.

LeBron made the right basketball play — he drew the defenders and passed to the open man. But it goes back to the same old meme — we want James to take charge and take that shot, not Haslem (who could have kicked to Wade who was wide open on the wing, but that’s another discussion). It comes back to the feeling expressed in a tweet by our own John Krolik:

When LeBron’s team is up late, he’ll take the hero J. When down, he’ll go for the drive or the pass. Does not want to miss final J.

There were other guys you could blame for this loss — if Haslem hits that jumper or if Dwyane Wade makes a free throw (or doesn’t foul Devin Harris) we are not talking about this. But they didn’t and it fell to LeBron. A guy who entered the league as a drive and dish player without a jumper who reverts to that under pressure.

We have been down this road before. LeBron will take heat for this. The same way he did for the All-Star game. But it’s the same answer — what happens here does not matter. What matters is what LeBron does in the playoffs. If he makes this pass again in the finals and the Heat lose, it is his fault. If he makes the big plays in the playoffs and the Heat get a ring he can change the narrative. Until then, it’s all just fodder for people to say LeBron isn’t ready to win.

  1. boondocksaint224 - Mar 3, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    How pissed would you be as a Jazz fan if Haslem had hit that jumper after having set a clearly illegal screen on Josh Howard to free up LeBron?

    • cinnalocks - Mar 3, 2012 at 7:15 AM

      How pissed are you as a Miami fan that you lost? Lbj was free………. the double team faded as he went to the basket. Just saw the film. He could have shot a jumper or taken it to the hole instead of that bounce pass to Udonis. Stars do not defer, unless your name is Micheal Jordan and you pass it to Steve Kerr. Miami has a good team, but I do not see them winning it all. In a series, with time and rest, teams can prepare. Hell if the Jazz can beat them…………….

  2. rodgersmvp - Mar 3, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    This was nothing like the All-Star game. In the All-Star game he made a stupid play when he could’ve won with a shot. In this instance he made the right move, and Haslem should’ve hit that shot. He left him wide open, and if it worked you’d have written a story about how good he is – but Haslem’s mistake does not make it the wrong play.

    • cinnalocks - Mar 3, 2012 at 6:54 AM

      This is why they will not win a Championship. LBJ is afraid of that moment. To miss a big shot and take the heat or hit it and be the hero. He would rather pass, defer, move out of the spotlight. Jerry West, M.J. Magic, Kareem, non of those guys would defer. Haslem is not a shooter, he is a rebounder. It would be different if he passed it to Steve Kerr or Ray Allen, but Haslem? It was the WRONG PLAY.

    • mlblogsbig3bosox - Mar 3, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      The problem is that LeBron has adopted this reserved pose over the years. I mean the guy was hyped from high school and because of that he doesn’t like taking risks because if he does and fails, he thinks people will get on him, but man.. right now people are over you. LBJ doesn’t have that “I don’t care what people think” attitude that MJ had and that Kobe has. That’s another reason why he doesn’t participate in the dunk contest and never will because he has nothing to gain and everything to lose.. Man you know MJ would do it just to prove to everyone that he could meet the expectations. LeBron wouldn’t, and that’s why taking the easy way out won’t get him where he could potentially be.

  3. africanballer - Mar 3, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    Well I dunno man we know who lebron is an what he’s hated for or what he can’t seem to do etc. As a heat fan I want to give alot credit to the jazz for holding on, and devin harries for having the balls to go for it.

  4. losangelasbasketball - Mar 3, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    still think spoelstra needs to go… he’s great at X’s and O’s but this team needs someone to step in and force role players to play roles… and closers to close…just ask phil jackson and his 11 rings…

  5. Gboi - Mar 3, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    It really does matter… How could it not be? It speaks about the man and I really hate it when he does that and not until he changed his in the clutch ways then it matters.

    The least he could do was try… With his other worldly skills he could have easily drove past over Paul Millsap and at best Millsap will be able to commit a foul or try as hard as he could for James to take a hard shot, but he did not. It was too early and if you notice he did not even get close to the rim to possibly get a tip in, he just gave up all the responsibility to be responsible of the ending and live with.

    Look how dejected he is because he knows what was really coming he even gave it up way too early… I wish he could have given it up to Wade. Hopefully this man will be able to overcome it, but until then, it matters. It matters, regular season games or playoff games…

    This is the second time you wrote about it now as well as the second time James shied away. I thought it would have been different now until he told everybody that he wished he could have that possession again back at the All Star Game and tool the last shot.

    Hmmm… wondering about it, if in the next game Lebron will be presented the same situation and Lebron will shrink again would you still write about it and say, “What matters is what LeBron does in the playoffs?”

    Man, you kinda making it hard for yourself.

  6. dgbk - Mar 3, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    ofcourse if he dont get things done in the playoffs it will be he is still young and this was a short season etc etc…..i like james he is a great player and for the most part a decent person…. but he put a target on himself waaaaay before he went to the heat and he needs to win now just one… not two not three not……….

  7. addict2sport - Mar 3, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    Like many have said, time to change the nickname. A “king” does not pass to a joker with the game (pick up, preseason, reg season, all star scrimmage, playoffs, or finals) on the line.

  8. cullenand99 - Mar 3, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    LeBron just can’t win. By him making the right choice and passing the ball to a wide open Haslem he gets criticized. If he would’ve taken the shot and missed he would’ve been criticized for not passing the ball and the stupid little LeBron bandwagon haters would be on here with their LeChoke comments.No matter what he does he gets criticized for it.

    • pl4tinum514 - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      And if he had taken a few of those buzzer-beater type shots and made a couple of them, we’d start to shutup about it with every buzzer beater he made.

      And if he took 20 of them and missed them all, I think we’d be well within our rights to say he’s a choker.

  9. cmerks22 - Mar 3, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    speaking as a bulls fan I know Derek Rose would have taken that shot. I don’t care how many guys were on him. and you can bet if he did pass it, it would not have been to a big for a mid range jumper. if lebron takes that shot and misses, fine. at least you know the best guy on the floor tried to win it for his team. unfortunately lebron falls short again in the final seconds of a game. and I only say that because he has proven time and time again that he can score whenever he wants too. except when he really needs too. great player just doesn’t have that do anything to win attitude when the game is on the line. its too bad.

  10. Matthew Hunt - Mar 3, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    Shot by great player over two defenders is usually > open shot by roll player. That’s kinda the defining line between great players and not-great.

  11. lucidsportsfan - Mar 3, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    It’s true that what he does in the regular season doesn’t matter, but games like this continue to build the case that he doesn’t have the desire or personality to take control in big situations. How else can you explain these stats from the finals last year? http://www.lucidsportsfan.com/2011_06_12_archive.html#2049941527228952857

  12. bearsstillsuck - Mar 3, 2012 at 4:18 AM

    It’d take more than one post season performance to shake his lechoke name. It’s one thing I agree with skip Bayless on.

  13. monstoro15 - Mar 3, 2012 at 4:38 AM

    Everybody saying that he should of taken the shot is stupid.
    Why would you take a shot while you’re double teamed and you have a hand in your face when you have a pretty consistent midrange shooter wide open. It was a good play, just Haslem couldn’t finish. Stop riding on Lebron for looking for a better shot than the one presented to him.

    • cinnalocks - Mar 3, 2012 at 7:03 AM

      Why would the star give it to Haslem? You really expected Haslem to score with the pressure of a last second, game winning shot. NOW THAT IS STUPID. Stop chewing LeBron’s Jock.

      Haslem a shooter, are you nuts? Ray Allen is a shooter. Double teamed so what? Dwight Howard is always double teamed. Split the double and get open. All we hear about is LBJ and how great he is….D Wade should have had the ball……

      M.J. would have shot it. But then again M.J. has 6 rings and this dude has none. D Wade so called Robin even has a ring. LBJ ought to be Robin, D Wade is really Batman.

      • blueintown - Mar 3, 2012 at 7:12 AM

        M.J. would not have shot it if he was double teamed, as James was. Rather, he would have passed it to Steve Kerr.

      • david8726 - Mar 3, 2012 at 12:10 PM

        You clearly don’t know much about Haslem. He has taken and made game winning shots for the Heat from that spot on the floor. He’s been a reliable mid range jump shooter throughout his career.

        Also, you realize that MJ famously passed the ball to Paxson and Kerr in the final seconds of close games, right? He didn’t always take the shot.

  14. hoytdadd64 - Mar 3, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    “He passed it again” Wow. That was a pretty soft double team to pass out of so quickly. Second defender wasn’t really in his face yet, he could have taking the jumper and beat the double before it got there. He wasn’t even looking for the shot, he was looking to pass from the start of the play. His eyes were on Haslem the whole time, he wasn’t even looking at the rim. Call me a hater if you want too, but LeChoke doesn’t want the spot light. He’s scared of it. Wade needs the ball at the end of the game!!

  15. hoytdadd64 - Mar 3, 2012 at 4:54 AM

    This is what a real champion does with the game on the line, harder double team, same spot on the floor just opposite sides….

    Or..if you’re not a Kobe fan here’s some D-Wade buzzer beaters. Look at the #1 spot, “This is my house” Wade proclaims at the end…it needs to be his house again, Lebron is a great role player, Wade is a killer…

    • Kurt Helin - Mar 3, 2012 at 6:50 PM

      Have you also seen how many game winners Kobe missed over the years.

      • pl4tinum514 - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:31 PM

        But he has the balls to take the shot. And he has rings. Do I even need to post this?

  16. hoytdadd64 - Mar 3, 2012 at 4:55 AM

    Sorry, here’s the Wade highlights….

  17. vstyle23 - Mar 3, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    You can’t created a killa, you have to be raised to be one. The visual of Lebron coming towards you at night is a scary site but if you look into his eyes you can sense fear. Not so scary after all.

  18. slowclyde86 - Mar 3, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    Each you write this article, the less true it becomes.

  19. illad3lph1a - Mar 3, 2012 at 8:40 AM

    Wow guys, he was doubled and passed to Harlem for a wide open shot at the free throw line… Perfect play and pass….you guys a true haters on certain players

  20. rodge1 - Mar 3, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    Heat will still win the championship this year

  21. mikejd12 - Mar 3, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    If he forces the shot over double coverage then he’s selfish, you guys are never happy!

    • stadix093 - Mar 3, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      If he takes that shot he’s not selfish he’s confident. If he makes that kind of shot he’s not just the best basketball player in the NBA he’s legendary. I hate the Heat, but I love the NBA. I don’t watch it to see people do what I can do (pass out of a double team) I watch it to see the best athletes on earth do things I would never dream of trying, like going up over two 6 foot plus guys, off balance and crushing the hearts of 19000 people. That’s fun to see. Like Kobe’s shot over D Wade a few years ago. It should have never went in but it did, and today I’ll go watch a replay of it, because that man is a legend.

  22. monstoro15 - Mar 3, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    @cannalock

    I never said Haslem was a shooter. I said he was a “pretty consistent midrange jump shooter” learn to read. He was wide open, of course you expect him to make it. a wide open jumper.
    Are you really going to use dwight Howard as an example. Dwight Howard gets the ball down low in the post and never dribbles the ball.
    Michael Jordan won his rings in the playoffs. not in the regular season tard.

    • pl4tinum514 - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      Haslem’s a “pretty consistent midrange jump shooter.”

      And Lebron is one of the 3 best players in the game today.

      But he’s a loser.

  23. asublimeday - Mar 3, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    There’s this thing called playoff seeding that makes regular season wins and losses important.

  24. david8726 - Mar 3, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Superstar players do not always take the last shot. Jordan won two titles passing off to Kerr and Paxson. Was Jordan any less clutch for doing that? Of course not.

    Haslem is a good mid range shooter who has hit game winners for the Heat over the course of his career. I refuse to bash on someone for passing to a wide open player. That’s a solid basketball play.

    LeBron has taken and made game winning shots during his career. He has also passed off for game winners . That’s who he is. He trusts the players around him and is willing to let others shoot if it’s the correct play. That is not a bad thing.

  25. tampajoey - Mar 3, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Anyone that says Lebron wasn’t open is full of crap!

    Lebron James loves throwing up that fade-away brick. If it was the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd period Lebron would have taken that same shot or drove to the basket.

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