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LeBron, Wade talk about passing off the game-winning shot

Mar 10, 2012, 6:04 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat Getty Images

One week ago against the Jazz, LeBron James drove for a potential game-winning shot and when two defenders came to him he passed off to Udonis Haslem, who missed the shot. NBA fans screamed, “Why didn’t he take that shot? Why is he afraid of the big moment?”

On Wednesday night in the final minute of a tight game, Dwyane Wade passed the ball three times – twice to Haslem, once to Chris Bosh — and got the assist on all three when the guys drained their open looks. Nobody accuses Wade of fearing the moment.

Is it just the result that matters, or does making the pass to the open man count for something? Fans want “hero ball” shots, but statics will tell you that is not usually the most efficient way to score at the end of games.

Both Wade and LeBron spoke with Tom Haberstroh of ESPN’s Heat Index about taking those hero shots at the end. LeBron pointed to Michael Jordan as a guy who did both.

“At times you need hero-ball,” James said. A lot of big shots have come from big games from hero-ball. Michael Jordan has made shots that you’d call hero-ball, and you don’t take those from him.”…

“But he’s also made the play where he passed to John Paxson or passed to Steve Kerr for the game-winner,” James said. “You just play the game the right way and do whatever it takes in that point in time.”

Wade said it’s about feel.

“We all grew up in an era watching Michael Jordan and obviously Kobe Bryant,” Wade said. “A lot of those guys make unbelievable shots to win games. A lot of fans want to see their favorite players take those shots. Hit or miss, they want to see them take those shots….

“For those of us who play the game of basketball, sometimes that shot is there and you feel it and you take it,” Wade said. “And sometimes it’s not and you understand that someone might have a better shot than you.”

Ultimately, fans will forgive players who pass if the shot falls, but if it doesn’t he takes heat.

Except for LeBron. He’s painted into a corner. He passed at the end of the All-Star Game and last weekend against the Jazz and it didn’t work out either time. If he had taken the shots and missed he would have heard about that. If he had taken those shots and made them both his critics would say it doesn’t matter in an exhibition and then regular season game. Until LeBron wins a ring and plays well in the finals he cannot shake his rep.

Even if passing is the right basketball play to make.

  1. tampajoey - Mar 10, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Another Lebron Butt Kissing Excuse Making article from Kurt.

    • david8726 - Mar 10, 2012 at 11:43 PM

      God forbid that someone write articles that try to be fair to LeBron.

      You obviously dislike LeBron, so of course you perceive an article that’s fair to him as “butt kissing.”

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Mar 11, 2012 at 12:30 AM

      Anyone see tonight’s game? LeBron hits the 3 to send it to OT (while covering th 1,2,3&4 tonight); D-Wade hits the game winner in OT.

      I’d say that was a pretty good night.

      • tampajoey - Mar 11, 2012 at 12:49 AM

        If you watched the game then you also saw the brink 3 point attempt Lebron shot with about 22 seconds left in OT and lucky for the Heat the deep Lebron brick lead to a long rebound that the Heat got.

        Lebron got bailed out by Wade again.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Mar 11, 2012 at 12:52 AM

        You are too funny

  2. jjordannba - Mar 10, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    also he scored almost all the points in the 4th quarter in the ASG and scored 10 of the Heat’s last 11 against the Jazz but still passed on both while clearly being the hottest player on the floor

  3. bmmayhew - Mar 10, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Lebron is the regular season stat king. That’s it. While ESPN and other media outlets want us to believe otherwise, Lebron is a mental midget that hasn’t handled pressure even remotely as well as Jordan or Kobe.

    • adamthompson24 - Mar 10, 2012 at 7:44 PM

      Mental midget, +1 sir

    • jayzus - Mar 10, 2012 at 8:44 PM

      Jordan 33 6 5
      Kobe 25 5 4
      LeBron 29 8 7

      Seems to be doing ok stat wise in the playoffs too.

      • tampajoey - Mar 10, 2012 at 9:31 PM

        Over the past 2 seasons Lebron is 1 for 11 on last shots down 1 point or tied.

        9% on game winning shots is pretty pathetic. No wonder Lebron passes the ball during clutch time.

      • philtration - Mar 10, 2012 at 9:37 PM

        Jordan 6 rings
        Kobe 5 rings

      • tampajoey - Mar 11, 2012 at 12:52 AM

        I like how bandwagon Heat fans give thumbs down to facts.

      • jayzus - Mar 11, 2012 at 1:40 AM

        Robert Horry 7 rings
        Jordan 6 rings
        Kobe 5 rings

  4. bearsstillsuck - Mar 10, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    I really hate James, but if he at least took, the shot, hit or miss, I’d have some respect for him ( I have none for Kurt). The more Kurt writes articles like these, the more pathetic James seems.

  5. progress2011 - Mar 10, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    If basketball was an individual sport, such as golf or boxing, then I would say, he should shoot the ball, no matter what.
    However basketball purest will all agree that bball is a team sport and is known as a ” team play ” .

    Therefore as a ” team member ” in any environment (sports, politics, corporations) without mutual trust, the venture will struggle or fail.

    What I enjoy, when watching a bball game is when, the less athletic team, beats the globtrotter, 360 degree basketball dunking, ill advised shooting, ego-maniacs, with wit and bball I.Q.

    LBJ is one of the few bball players we will see that possess athleticism and a passion for playing the game from a ” team ” perspective. By entrusting his teammates, when he is double or triple teamed, he will pass them the ball, which further builds upon a strong foundation of confidence.

    The guy makes great ” team ” plays.

    • francislindayag - Mar 14, 2012 at 6:35 AM

      Yes I agree. Lebron, as talented as he is, plays the game ala Oscar Robertson. The world anointed Lebron as The Chosen One. People expect him to do a Hordan or Kobe thing. Actually he does but what he truly lacks is some mental toughness in the playoffs. He will learn from experience but he should learn fast and now!!! Dwade has mental toughness. If Lebron can develop this so called MENTAL TOUGHNESS in him, the Heat will win multiple titles.

  6. funktron2x - Mar 10, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Another Kurt Helin truthbomb. And then lots of comments from folks high on hate and short on reason.

  7. Gboi - Mar 10, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    The third article from Kurt Helin to explain Lebron since ASG.

  8. jjordannba - Mar 10, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    How many times are you going to write about this. And I promise you less people would criticize him if he takes these shot and misses than if he passes off to a role player. Because right now it seems he’s afraid to even take the shot, if he took it he would being showing he is not afraid to take it. -But he is

  9. tampajoey - Mar 10, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Kurt, everyone reading PBT knows you kiss Lebron’s butt at every opportunity so stop holding my comments in queue to be reviewed.

    I’m not writing anything about you that everyone doesn’t already know.

    • jjordannba - Mar 10, 2012 at 10:16 PM

      same here

    • cordae - Mar 11, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      and you run and read every time he does, tamponjoey..

  10. philtration - Mar 10, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Why is it that every time you post something about LeBron or the Heat it is always showing a pic of these guys standing around with their hands on their hips like runway models or giggling together on the bench?

    No game photos exist of LeBron and Wade or is this the image that comes to mind for you Kurt?
    I am beginning to think that the only ring LeBron will ever wear is when he and Wade finally tie the knot.

  11. jjordannba - Mar 10, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    same here.

  12. gavilansalvaje - Mar 10, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    We are hypocrites. We criticize LBJ for eschewing “Hero Ball” but castigate Carmelo Anthony for declaring that “Hero Ball” is what the NY Knicks should play.

    Give LBJ a break. Not only does he realize that while Basketball is a team sport, NBA Basketball also demands that stars play “Hero Ball” and he needs to find a balance between the two styles, he also realizes that both styles of Basketball demand that a player put forth effort in both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game. The dude is an offensive force, but his offensive skill is rivaled by his defensive prowess.

    LBJ is a great basketball player who obviously wants to play “the right way”. The only negative I can see about LBJ is the ill-conceived “The Decision” fiasco- but how much of that was LBJ and how much of that was the influence of the remoras who have latched on to him?

    I am not an LBJ fan, nor am I a Miami Heat fan, and nothing would make me happier than seeing my Chicago Bulls crush Miami on the way to an NBA Finals win against anyone that comes out of the West.

    But we need to give the dude a break,

    • francislindayag - Mar 14, 2012 at 6:41 AM

      Yeah, I think we should give Lebron a break. He’s been dazzling since Day 1 of his NBA career. I’m not a Lebron fan but I think he plays the game the right way. Fans should realize that he’s not made of Jordan or a Kobe stuff. He’s more of a facilitator with great offensive skills, passing skills and defensive skills. He plays the 1,2,4 and 5. He can guard anyone in the NBA. For all of this to end, Lebron better develop mental toughness and he should win the title this year!

  13. ajpurp - Mar 11, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    I am not a LeBron or Miami fan, but look at each of the top players stats on game winning or tying shots with 10
    Seconds or less left, they are ALL terrible. We just remember the big shots, not when guys miss outside of LeBron because of his finals play. Over their careers LeBron shots a whole percentage point better than Wade on those shots, D-Rose? Hits 13%. The only star with a great percentage is Dirk Nowitzki and Carmelo believe it or not, who are around 20-30%. NO ONE who is a star and does Iso has a high percentage in those areas because well…they are inefficient plays. Whereas guys like fisher or Horry are much higher because they get passed the ball and are wide open, basketball plays are the right plays.

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