May 19, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT
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).
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.
Aug 30, 2014, 12:11 AM EDT
Another Pacer player injured in international play.
Aug 29, 2014, 11:15 PM EDT
Tournament features a record 75 players who have played in the NBA at some point, and we have the complete list.
Chris Paul discusses his signature shoe, hoops with media at launch of his Jordan Brand CP3 VIII (VIDEO)
Aug 29, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT
Chris Paul is way more into sneakers than you are, and articulated it well at the launch of his latest signature shoe in New York earlier this week.
Aug 29, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT
Ayon has played for four teams in three NBA seasons, and currently only has offers to play overseas next year.
Aug 29, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT
Allen is undecided on playing next season.
Aug 29, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT
Knicks wing acts as security guard in prank
Aug 29, 2014, 3:33 PM EDT
Bulls have Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic
Aug 29, 2014, 2:47 PM EDT
Colangelo touts Anthony Davis, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, Rudy Gay
Aug 29, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
By also stretching Carlos Delfino, Clippers can sign four veterans to minimum contracts
Aug 29, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT
The truth is limited games in an unusual setting don’t provide real answers to how Rose is feeling or will do down the line. What you think this says about Rose really says more about what you think of Rose’s future than anything else.
Aug 29, 2014, 12:40 PM EDT
Thunder center faced year-long ban before declaring for draft
Aug 29, 2014, 11:40 AM EDT
It should be USA/Spain for the gold, everyone else is playing for third.
Aug 29, 2014, 10:59 AM EDT
Shelly Sterling, who’s still tied to the Clippers, ensuring team can’t move on from her husband
Aug 29, 2014, 10:24 AM EDT
Anthony Davis should lead the Pelicans to the playoffs, which would make Monty Williams feel safer.
Aug 29, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
World Peace/Pandas Friend has already reached terms to play in China. Bidding war?
Aug 29, 2014, 9:24 AM EDT
Celtics forward contributes money toward construction of building named for John Thompson Jr.
Aug 29, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT
If the Nuggets stay healthy, they are again a playoff threat in the West.
Aug 29, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Protecting the paint is the obvious Achilles heel of the Cavaliers, on paper anyway.
Aug 29, 2014, 12:01 AM EDT
Stauskas is thrilled to have finally made it to the NBA.
Aug 28, 2014, 10:29 PM EDT
Wade and Bosh show they can get the job done now that LeBron has moved on.
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- Derrick Rose knows injury questions will keep coming. And coming. And coming. 7
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- Cavaliers GM admits concerns about rim protection on defense 19
- Coach K had DeMarcus Cousins as USA’s backup big long before final cuts 6
- World Cup preview: No Durant, no problem USA still one of two teams with legit shot to win gold 6