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The 2014 Eastern Conference Finals have started. Care to join us, LeBron?

May 19, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT

LeBron James LeBron James

LeBron James didn’t even touch the ball until the Heat’s fifth possession – and he had to grab a rebound to get his hands on it.

After hitting the glass, he dribbled the length of the floor, exploded into the paint and made a layup over a backtracking Paul George.

LeBron certainly didn’t play poorly in the Heat’s Game 1 loss to the the Pacers on Sunday. He finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals.

He just didn’t assert himself, at least by his standards. To get those impressive numbers, he really made the most of limited opportunities.

Including regular season and playoffs, LeBron averages a touch every 30 seconds. Sunday, he touched the ball just once per 44 seconds – by far a season high time between touches.

Here are LeBron’s game-by game seconds per touch this season (regular season in red, first round against Bobcats in blue, second round against Nets in black, Game 1 against Pacers in gold).

image

In all, LeBron had just 56 touches in 41 minutes Sunday. He had fewer touches just thrice this season – a pair of wins over the last-place Bucks and a victory over the Spurs in which he played a season-low 28 minutes.

Usually, LeBron better picks his spots to defer. In the 20 previous games this season he had the fewest touches, the Heat went 19-1.

But Miami needed LeBron more involved Sunday.

Paul George deserves credit for blanketing LeBron. That doesn’t explain why LeBron passively waited beyond the arc so often.

It certainly wasn’t to conserve energy for defense.

LeBron didn’t defend well, and he didn’t make the mark he can offensively. His numbers were good, and so was his play. Merely good just isn’t the standard for LeBron.

Often, unfairly, we’ve demanded more and more from LeBron. But had he even  been as involved Sunday as often as he usually is, that would have made a significant difference. Not only would he have been in position to score more, having the ball would have forced the Pacers defense to collapse more often created open shots for his teammates.

For the Heat to overcome their 1-0 series deficit, they need LeBron to assert himself. Teammates ignoring him is not an excuse for a player of his caliber. He has the cache to demand the ball.

He needs to do it.

  1. reesesteel23 - May 19, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    Cant wait for game 2. Going to be a good one. Everyone in the country fell off the Pacer bandwagon during the first 2 series’. Look how quickly that changed? Like every series the Heat play, its them against the world. Literally.

    • cantonbound13 - May 19, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      The world? Really? Most of the world doesn’t even know or care who the Heat are.

      • bankai78 - May 19, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        You do realize that the NBA is actually more popular overseas than the United States right? 75 of online traffic for NBA.com is outside the US.

      • cantonbound13 - May 19, 2014 at 12:48 PM

        You do realize there are soccer teams out there that are much more popular than the Heat. I don’t think people in the Ukraine, gearing up for a war, give 2 sh$$$ about LeBron & your overrated team.

      • reesesteel23 - May 19, 2014 at 10:43 AM

        Correction: Most of the world hate the Heat even though they don’t know or care who the Heat are.

      • condor75 - May 19, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        not sure which world you live in, but it sure isn’t the world of sports

  2. borderline1988 - May 19, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    I dont think people should make too much of this loss. Indiana shot the ball abnormally well (52% FG and 42% from 3), and Miami’s defense didn’t adjust even after the Pacers repeatedly beat their trapping perimeter defense by getting the ball the high post.

    Miami’s offense was fine. The defense was awful, they need to make some adjustments. But regardless, Indiana wont get a 20+ FT differential again, they likely wont hit 42% of their 3pt shots and hit 8 of them.

    Lebron and Wade both had very efficient offensive games. That’s a good sign.

    I don’t understand why they dont give the ball to Bosh and work against Hibbert or West. Both of them don’t have the quicks to guard Bosh one-on-one…

    • bucrightoff - May 19, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      Because Bosh is a pansy who would rather stand at the 3 point line and take long jumpers. LeBron is a better power forward than Bosh is.

    • jkirby317 - May 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM

      Yea, a great sign when your best players play well and your team had no chance to win the game, really?
      Bosh tried once to drive on Hibbert and threw a shot up that looked like you did it.
      Bosh is soft serve ice cream. Indiana had a guy like him once… Troy Murphy. Big lefty that thinks he can shoot threes.

      • duhwighthoward - May 19, 2014 at 1:12 PM

        Troy Murphy. Once he was on the team, you knew the Lakers downhill slide had begun.

      • jkirby317 - May 19, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        But he was big and would shoot hella threes. Bosh went to Miami and developed a size complex. All of a sudden he thinks he is a stretch guy.
        I can’t even remember seeing him dunk.

      • duhwighthoward - May 19, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        Anyone can shoot threes. Too bad that was all he could do, besides being big and out of shape.

        Anyways, I never saw anyone airball threes like he did. At least one per game. Some nights up to four.

  3. thetxhammer - May 19, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    All of a sudden the Pacers are an offensive machine that will take this series with ease, love all the bandwagon fans around here.

    Keep your tunnel vision goggles on, “fans”, it’s entertaining to the rest of us.

    • bougin89 - May 19, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      Where have you been? The irrational commenters come out after every game 1. The Pacers have been bashed more than anyone this postseason…

  4. suckittrebek76 - May 19, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    reesesteel23
    May 19, 2014, 7:58 AM CDT

    Cant wait for game 2. Going to be a good one. Everyone in the country fell off the Pacer bandwagon during the first 2 series’. Look how quickly that changed? Like every series the Heat play, its them against the world. Literally.
    ———————————————————
    Figuratively, actually.

    • reesesteel23 - May 19, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      ^^

  5. duhwighthoward - May 19, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    What is that graph? It looks like a seismology graph measuring earthquakes.

    LeBrona Mann flopped before the game was even three minutes old. God, it was enjoyable watching the Pacers pick the Heat apart.

  6. jzone954 - May 19, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    He needs his team to step up. Bosh has been reduced to a 3 PT shooter who can give you minimum down low at best. I have a lot of respect for the Pacers because even though they had a rough playoffs there still the team that took Miami to 7 games last year and it seems like we get our behind kicked most of the time in Indiana. I knew this game was coming. Miami looked flat and there just stupid to live with going 6-23 from downtown. 23 attempts from the 3 means no driving to the basket, which means no getting anyone in fouls trouble , which means a loss. The Pacers shot 31 ft to our 13 I believe and I’m not gonna put that on the refs but rather the damn Pacers driving and getting the damn call.

  7. aboogy123456 - May 19, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    I don’t like the Heat but I still think they win this series. They looked like they forgot how to play competitive basketball yesterday, and that makes sense because they coasted all season and through the first two rounds. They normally play great pressure defense and I didn’t see it yesterday, let’s see how it plays game 2

    • jkirby317 - May 19, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      The Heat did not “coast” all season. They tried and FAILED to obtain the #1 seed in the East.
      Fun fact: LeBron James is 0-7 in game 1 playoff games on the Road.
      If the Heat chose to coast all season they should have taken some advice from LeBron and “watched what they wished for!”
      Heat got beat down and have no answer for the team of ball players in Indiana.

      • obmig - May 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        A bit over confident after only 1 home win.

      • jkirby317 - May 19, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        And I will be even more confident on Wed. after they go up 2-0.

      • condor75 - May 19, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        FUN FACT, the Heat have won the last two titles, been in the last three title games, last four conference championships, don’t pop the champagne yet

      • jkirby317 - May 19, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        BREAKING NEWS! BREAKING NEWS! BREAKING NEWS!
        This just in: The Miami Heat trail the Indiana Pacers in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals 0-1.

        This happened yesterday…not last year.

      • jkirby317 - May 19, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        LeBron must have felt too “white hot” after the game so we had to wear his shade to the press conference.

  8. thenew013 - May 19, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    The Pacers are just a better team when they play the Heat. The rivalry is REAL!!!

  9. jbeagles23 - May 19, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    This heat team has lost every game 1 on the road since they’ve been together. In the exact same fashion. Lebron let’s his teammates try to get into a rhythm and the y get crushed. But we all know how those series turned out

  10. arrondior - May 19, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    I wouldn’t put too much thought into this win for the Jekyll and Hyde Pacers. This was an outstanding night for them where everything was going into the basket. This is the kind of loss that Spoelstra can use to get the team motivated while at the same time understanding that its highly unlikely that this Pacers team can play consistently like that. If the Heat get up 2-1 over the Pacers, I feel like they will fall apart. That locker room has some bad mojo in it.

    • jkirby317 - May 19, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      He looked like a scared baby in the locker room after the game.
      “We will figure this out. Trust that we can figure this out in the next 24 hours.”

      I will give you the blueprint to beat the Pacers: a complete game by a better team.
      Unfortunately, with 3 max contracts the Heat don’t have a team. Unless we are talking 3 on 3 NBA Jam style.

      • arrondior - May 21, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        You were saying… BTW, NBA Jam 2 vs 2…

  11. money2long - May 19, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    Is lebron wearin shades to hide the depression in his eyes

  12. ravenswhat - May 19, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    It’s simple really..when Lebron is selfish and looks to score they win.

    • antistratfordian - May 19, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      Not always. One important thing that LeBron is constantly aware of is Wade’s confidence and needs. Wade scored 27 points in Game 1 and had the same number of shots as LeBron. That is an investment in teammates from James that will pay off later.

  13. jbeagles23 - May 19, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Jkirby. Another scrub who just talks but doesn’t watch basketball. This is who the heat are. A team that now is motivated to play better , and yes they did coast through the regular season while Indiana gave their all.

  14. klownboy - May 19, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    Sure the Pacers showed some heart in Game 1, but it still won’t change my “Heat in six” prediction.

    http://wp.me/p1gCK6-SV

  15. obmig - May 19, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    I honestly hate rooting for the guy or even admitting that he’s the best, but when I watched the game yesterday I thought he looked spectacular and his team let him down. I don’t agree with the criticism. He’s going to explode in game 2, everybody knows it. This is going to be an exciting series.

  16. mrbiz8505 - May 19, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    LeBron (palms to the sky asking for a foul) James

    • 22yearsagotoday - May 19, 2014 at 5:17 PM

      Lebron Kiss the Sky James!

  17. Miami305 - May 19, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    The Pacers played uncharacteristically well on Saturday while the Heat looked uninspired and bored. That combination will equal a Heat loss every time. I think the Heat were expecting the Pacers to play as badly as they have been playing during the playoffs despite winning 2 series. They were wrong. Don’t expect the Heat to make the same mistake twice.

    For the Heat to win this series 1) Lebron has maintain his hunger to dominate and win. 2) DWade has to stop making dumb turnovers and whining to the refs every other play. 3) Chris Bosh has to step up and be aggressive. He is the x-factor for this Heat team. Where is he? 4) Stop relying on the 3 ball especially when they are not falling, and 4) Rebound the stupid ball!!!

    Prediction: Heat in 6

  18. Miami305 - May 19, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    The Pacers played uncharacteristically well on Saturday while the Heat looked uninspired and bored. That combination will equal a Heat loss every time. I think the Heat were expecting the Pacers to play as badly as they have been playing during the playoffs despite winning 2 series. They were wrong. Don’t expect the Heat to make the same mistake twice.

    For the Heat to win this series 1) Lebron has maintain his hunger to dominate and win. 2) DWade has to stop making dumb turnovers and whining to the refs every other play. 3) Chris Bosh has to step up and be aggressive. He is the x-factor for this Heat team. Where is he? 4) Stop relying on the 3 ball especially when they are not falling, and 4) Rebound the stupid ball!!!

    Prediction: Heat in 6

    • cruzan80 - May 19, 2014 at 2:08 PM

      LOL! Straight up homer comment; Outside of Lebron “maintaining his hunger to dominate”, none of the things you listed are characteristic of the Heat…yet you pick them to win the series in 6????

      “Stop relying on the 3 ball”
      They averaged 13.7 3 point attempts per game this year. That’s 2nd most in the entire league….sorry to break the news to you buddy but they depend on the 3 ball.

      “Chris Bosh has to step up and be aggressive. He is the x-factor for this Heat team. Where is he?”
      You’re asking this question about the same guy who went SCORELESS in a NBA Finals game.

      “Rebound the stupid ball!!!”
      They’re one of the worst rebounding teams in the entire league (30th) & playing against a team that is one of the best rebounding teams in the entire league (8th).

      Pacers win this thing in 6….maybe 5 if they just do what they normally do. Play solid defense & expose the other teams weakness in the paint with their bigs. Heat “fans”…smh.

  19. imakcds - May 19, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    Maybe LeBron was distracted by his planning for the Mt Rushmore of Basketball to be built.
    By him.
    For you, so you all know.
    May not be a top 4, who else can compare?
    You know that’s what he’s thinking.

  20. antistratfordian - May 19, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    This is true. But this is also typical of LeBron early in a series as he’s feeling it out. He’s been doing that since Cleveland. He’s kind of like Floyd Mayweather in that regard – in the early rounds he’s learning his opponent (and in LeBron’s case he’s seeing where his teammates are at). He wouldn’t want to start Game 1 going into the Cleveland offense. He usually saves the Cleveland offense for later in a series.

    This is his method – it’s proven – it’s team oriented – and it works.

  21. 12444uggg - May 19, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    *IF* the Pacers play together it will be a 5 on 2 more often than not.
    The Pacers D is going to be the determining factor of this series. Wade and LBJ can score 70 points together if the rest of the team is going into the Pacers D’s teeth, they’re in trouble.

  22. naterich21 - May 19, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Lebron had an average Game 1 by his standards. I’d say that their slow shooting guard Chris Bosh should take the blame

  23. jbeagles23 - May 19, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    The only people thinking this series is over are the ones hoping lebron fails. The previous poster is right, he’s just getting a feeling of how the pacers were going to play

  24. 25yearindyfan - May 19, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    Who is popping champagne? Nobody in Indiana is celebrating anything.

    You Miami fans are awfully condescending and utterly arrogant. It’s disgusting.

    Just be happy that you get mega stars, icons to come carry your franchise to titles. Quit it with claiming to be the great know all fans that everyone knows you certainly are not.

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