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LeBron comes up big, then not so much vs. Pacers, but that’s OK, DWade’s got him

Mar 11, 2012, 3:07 AM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat

There’s this quote that’s hangs in the Spurs’ locker room.

“When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”

And lost in the insipid commentary on LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and their perceived level of clutch-ness or clutch-ocity or clutch-dom is the fact that both players? Both players are hammers.

And against the Indiana Pacers in Miami’s 93-91 victory Saturday night, that much was evident.

Here’s the play that most people are going to talk about and remember. With a little over 40 seconds, left in overtime, LeBron James probed the middle and with ten seconds left burst to the far side and pulled up for three. Here’s what happened.

So James misses, ten passes to Dwyane Wade, who hits the game winner. Same old script, right?

Except that LeBron nailed a huge three to overtime. He scored or assisted on 13 of their final 15 points. He had a chasedown block on Danny Granger in overtime. He nailed a three  in OT from somewhere in the Everglades, I think. He was everywhere. And he rose up and took the shot people said he should take. Didn’t hit. So he gave his buddy a whack at it.

The bigger point is that the Heat beat the Pacers in a game in which they did not particularly play well (nor, honestly, did Indiana, considering the domination Joel Anthony enjoyed on Roy Hibbert), and they would not have won that game without LeBron James. When we look at the MVP race, the clutch part is brought up immediately when it comes to James. What isn’t brought up is that without him, the Heat, even with all that talent, do not win as many games as they do with him. He is such a huge part of every victory, makes his presence felt in every facet of the game.

But still. Didn’t hit that shot.

The tapestry of the Heat’s victory has strands that involve team defense, late steals from LeBron, missed free throws from LeBron, a blown alley-oop from Wade to Haslem, Darren Collison falling down, an unforgivable and-one foul from Dahntay Jones on LeBron James who had a clear path to the bucket in transition (never try fouling James there and if you do, bring a 2X4). It’s never one shot, one play, one miss, one make.

It’s that hammer. And Saturday night Wade had the swing that split the rock, but James’ fourth quarter and overtime were just as much the cause of the schism as anything.

  1. laughsatyou - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:11 AM

    Seems like every article after a Heat game is trying to convince everyone how great he is. We get it already . Keep beating that drum and maybe just maybe one time he will come through when it matters.They should just end the charade of it and give Wade the ball every time in a clutch situation.

    • acdc363 - Mar 11, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      Well he certainly came through when it mattered last night.

  2. chaospaladin - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    I feel like the ppl who write these articles should not be biased, it really show a one sided argument….

    • southbeachtalent - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      the truth?

  3. david8726 - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:39 AM

    There shouldn’t be any controversy about tonight’s game as far as LeBron is concerned.

    LeBron hit a three to tie up the game and save the Heat from a certain loss, and Wade hit a jumper to put the nail in the coffin in OT.

    Both acts are extremely clutch. And actually, I’d argue that there was even greater pressure on LeBron with his three. If he doesn’t hit that shot, the Heat get handed a loss, guaranteed. If Wade missed his shot, the game would have just gone to a second OT.

    Both players deserve to be celebrated tonight.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Mar 11, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      I actually like what LeBron did in this game. I would have no problem with him taking the shot and missing. Even the absolute best “game on the line shooters” af far as FG% goes only hit 50%. My problem with LeBron is that he’s never willing to take the shot and fail. I was fine with the pass out to Haslem a few weeks ago, but that wouldn’t have been a conversation if LeBron hadn’t passed out of that role habitually before.

      I honestly think the most interesting thing about the ASG was Kobe jawing at him. You can see how badly Kobe wants LeBron to challenge him. He wants LeBron to TAKE his respect and he hasn’t done it.

  4. ishudbgm - Mar 11, 2012 at 5:05 AM

    Down by 14 twice and they won. LBJ played out of his mind. I get confused when people say he isn’t the best on the planet. Crazy how DWade calls for the floor to be cleared out and watches the clock tick down for the last shot and there is nothing you can do about it, fouling him doesn’t help or at least in this case it didn’t. Rory McElroy looked like he saw a ghost when Dwade hit that shot!

    • drunkenjunk - Mar 11, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      you must be easily confused. He’s the most talented player on the planet but not the best. Wade wasn’t fouled, he jumped into the defender. That was all him so if he missed he could go to the line.

  5. thenmoveback - Mar 11, 2012 at 5:25 AM

    “there goes my hero! Watch him as he goes!” – dwade

  6. 700levelvet - Mar 11, 2012 at 6:51 AM

    James throws up a uncontested brick, and then immediately calls for DWade to get the ball, and he makes the game winning shot while getting hammered. Call it what you want, but it’s still Wade’s house…This isn’t James 2nd year in the league, and he’s on a learing curve, he simply isn’t the clutch player Wade is…….

    • cordae - Mar 11, 2012 at 8:40 AM

      I see whose head the point of this article completely flew over…

  7. cantonbound13 - Mar 11, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    LBJ is a solid regular season player, playoffs, not so much.

    • cullenand99 - Mar 11, 2012 at 3:11 PM

      You’re right. Because 28/8/7 is isnt solid? He also shoots 46% during the playoffs. Just for comparison here’s Kobe’s playoff stats: 25/5/5 while shooting 44%. Kobe’s stats would be considered very solid, so why doesn’t LeBron’s? People judge his playoff performance off of two or three series, but fail to mention all of the great series that he has had.

      • cordae - Mar 11, 2012 at 3:20 PM

        Right, like that ’07 series against the wizards, last years playoffs until the finals and that Stellar ECF game 7 in ’07 against the pistons. He scored 29 of their final points by himself! I dont see how clutch moments like that can ever be overlooked. I’m not a Kobe fan but I give credit where its due and he too can flat out ball, BUT, those were the same pistons that smacked him in the finals three years before. Lebron handled them with ease..

    • southbeachtalent - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      Did you keet a straight face while you typed that? hahahahahahahahaha

  8. mikejd12 - Mar 11, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    700 what are you talking about, people like u are ridiculous! James drains a three to send it to ot! And he’s not clutch. Come on man!!!

  9. rodge1 - Mar 11, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Anyone who watches LeBron’s defensive intensity can see how valuable the guy is. I don’t mind that he is more of a facilitator than scorer either. Everyone who hates on him is out of ignorance. Not to mention he’s never raped anyone or caused turmoil in the locker room.
    Keep it up LeBron, we’ll always love you in Miami! And if you choose to go elsewhere in the future, we won’t cry like bitter ex-girlfriends. We acknowledge that it’s a business and are lucky to live in a time to witness your talents.

    • progress2011 - Mar 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

      Very eloquent and well stated Rodge.

  10. DonRSD - Mar 11, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    James has his moments, but Wade has that IT factor at the end of the game.
    It was beautiful seeing Wade take control.

    Sure James hits a shot here and there the last 5 minutes of a game, but he isn’t as consistent as Wade / Kobe at the end of games.

    James is more like Magic except he holds the ball too long before making a desperation shot attempt.
    Wade has that Jordan killer instinct and just makes things happen.

    • progress2011 - Mar 11, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      Don, you make yourself seem a bit clueless when you make a statement like ” James hits a shot here and there ” , because LBJ is the leading scorer on the team. LBJ has scored 130 more pts than D.Wade

      Plus LBJ:
      1. Leads the team in Free Throws Made ( 92 more than D-Wade )
      2.Leads the team in Assists ( 100 more than D-Wade )
      3. Leads the team in steals. He has 20 more steals than D-Wade
      4. He has 29 more 3’s than D-Wade ( D-Wade only has 3 on the season )
      5.. Third in blocks ( he has 33 and D-Wade has 39 ). But D-Wade gets most of his, because the player with the ball is looking for LBJ.

      So, based on the facts above, do you see how you may seem a little silly.

      But with all the individual stats above, I believe LBJ and D-Wade understand it is a ” Team Sport “.

      Hero Ball is not welcomed ( a.k.a. kobe , who will go 9 of 31, as long as he hits the game winner ). That’s more Harlem Globetrotter / And1 type stuff and not fundamental basketball. There is a difference, which I assume has you confused.

    • cosanostra71 - Mar 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      um… did you ever watch Magic?

    • joelito19 - Mar 11, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      Did wade have the “IT” factor last year in the Eastern Finals? The man couldn’t even bring the ball up the courts. They all have the IT factor buddy, that’s what makes you a SuperStar. Stop listening to ESPN talking points

    • md23rewlz - Mar 11, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Kobe is incredibly inconsistent at the end of games. He has built up a reputation, and people will see the occasional game winner and think, “Man, there goes Kobe again!” but in reality, he is pretty sketchy at the end. It’s all about perception. When you think that Wade or Kobe is the best clutch player on the planet, you overlook the misses and focus on the makes. When you think that LeBron is a choker who can’t do anything right, you overlook the makes and focus on the misses. Anybody who thinks that the last possession of a game is the most important is simply wrong, though. Wade might have hit the last shot, but everything James did before that is just as important, and if you’re really weighting it correctly, more important. Wade’s shot was simply one possession in a long long game. That it happened to be the last possession is relevant only to the highlight reel. Great shot, but final possessions are horribly overrated.

      This coming from a Mavs fan who doesn’t like the Heat. I just find the microanalysis of what James does or doesn’t do in crunch time slightly absurd. If you looked at ANY player with the microscope that people look at James with, you’d find flaws.

    • Frank Teah - Mar 19, 2012 at 1:56 AM

      i hope u recognize that u are falling victim to the media’s false portrayal? lebron messed up in the finals, biggest stage okay we all admit that. Where was wade in the clutch against Boston and Chicago? 2 of the leagues top five defenses? Outside of the finals of 2006 dwade hasn’t been a better playoff performer or closer than james. Remember everybody that James could’ve beat he did While wade couldn’t get his team past the up and down alanta hawks. Against Orlando Bron average 39 8 and 8. hit a game winner to win one game and score 17 its 5 ass, and 5 feb in the fourth scoring or assisting every can field goal in the fourth quarter. Even in the losses he had stellar fourth quarters especially on the road. in his first playoff series he hit 2 game winners. Please check evidence before u comment. Don’t become the media’s pond

      • DonRSD - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:48 AM

        look….im a die hard heat fan.
        LeBron is good the 1st 43 minutes.
        the last 5 minutes = Wade time.
        wade has that knack for getting to the hole, LeBron cant get into the lane and settles for jumpshots. Wade is just a better clutch player & midrange jump shooter :)

  11. drunkenjunk - Mar 11, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    mikejd12 hitting one shot to tie the game doesn’t make you clutch. Considering how many times he has choked or passed up the shot he hasn’t earned the “clutch” label yet.

    • progress2011 - Mar 11, 2012 at 1:27 PM

      Michael Jordan spoiled the world, by making phenomenal play, after phenomenal play. So, we expect every player to make a phenomenal shot, at the end of games.

      However If you understand ” Fundamental Basketball ” , the right play is not to take a highly contested shot when you are double or triple teamed. The right ” Fundamental Basketball ” play is to make the right pass, to the open man, with the better shot.

      Making the right ” Fundamental Basketball Play ” that results in a win, is the true definition of ” Clutch “.

      Otherwise you should entertain yourselves by attending the next Harlem Globetrotter exhibition, the next time they visit your town. Lend further support to them by buying their dvd’s or other media. The Globetrotters are a phenomenal show and you will see many trick/ h.o.r.s.e. shots.

      Understand the difference between ” Fundamental Basketball ” the ability to make a trick shot.

  12. packymalley - Mar 11, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    No doubt…LBJ is a regular season MVP. He will have this June to prove if he is a finals MVP….Wade is already there.

  13. bhester1906 - Mar 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Did you proofread ?

    • drunkenjunk - Mar 11, 2012 at 12:10 PM

      can’t believe these guys get paid for this.

  14. mrlitl - Mar 11, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    I think Kurt is ghost writing now…

  15. jayzus - Mar 11, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    This is like watching the presidential primaries, only here the commentators are the candidates.

    It is what it is people, LeBron actually hit a clutch shot, deal with it! Then he passed it to Wade who also hit a clutch shot. The world is not ending, LeBron is not MJ but don’t be a blind cult follower either.

    • drunkenjunk - Mar 11, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      no doubt Bron hit a clutch shot, I’ll give him his props for taking it and knocking it down. But people act like he is all of a sudden clutch now. Jordan Farmar hit one the other day for the W. Bron is amazing in the regular season, but how he does in the playoffs is all that matters anymore.

  16. ajpurp - Mar 11, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Go look up their respective percentages over their careers for shots made with 10 seconds or less in 4th quarter or overtime. LeBron is a full percentage point better. Neither are great. Mr. Clutch Derrick Rose is somewhere around 4-16 over the last three years. James just started this not hitting the last shot thing in Miami, over the course of his career he has been better than Wade and damn solid.

  17. joelito19 - Mar 11, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Some of you guys are idiots. I can guarantee this, if we had a league draft, Lebron would be first on everyone’s list. The man is a beast. He plays both sides of the court with intensity. And his Career playoff stats are better than Kobe and Wade(if Facts Matter). Ring are not individual achievements. Can one of you guys tell me why Mr. Bryant aka Mr . ClutchMan only “earned” 1 Finals MVP in his seven tries? All the greats have multiple finals MVP

  18. southbeachtalent - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Well written article. Shows perspective and basketball knowledge. Those commentors that are saying its one sided are hilarious! Yea one sided, the truth. He came up huge, and Wade sealed the deal. And that last shot DWade took was definetly a foul. No question. GO HEAT

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