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.
Jul 27, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
The 2015 Slam Dunk Contest champion might have already been decided.
Jul 27, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT
At least he has an injury.
Jul 27, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT
We’ve known this for a while now.
Jul 27, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
Millsap gets the call as a late addition after Blake Griffin and Kevin Love dropped out in the last few days.
Jul 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
KG is likely coming back for his 20th NBA season, but may be setting himself up for something more with the Nets one his playing days are finished.
Jul 27, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT
LeBron makes yet another momentous decision.
Jul 27, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
L.A. will keep Nash on the roster for the upcoming season, and take the cap hit for the $9.7 million remaining on his contract all at once.
Jul 27, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT
Only other possibility would have been LeBron facing the Heat, but that feels more like Christmas.
Jul 27, 2014, 10:01 AM EDT
Team downplays ESPN report that a contract has been agreed upon.
Jul 27, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT
Would Harden have been offended if he and Parsons made similar money?
Jul 27, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Kobe looks like Kobe, even all those years ago.
Jul 27, 2014, 12:30 AM EDT
Wade can play a little football.
Jul 26, 2014, 11:37 PM EDT
The negotiations was over years and the fourth year is a team option.
Jul 26, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
Beasley is an unrestricted free agent, and some team will almost certainly take a chance on him next season.
Jul 26, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT
Bledsoe is absolutely right.
Jul 26, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT
If Kevin Love will not opt-in to the last year of his deal, would you still give up Wiggins for him?
Jul 26, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
Nobody scores on Joakim Noah, 7-year-old youth included.
Jul 26, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
Being inserted into the starting lineup might have something to do with it.
Jul 26, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT
Kevin Durant is the perfect international power forward anyway.
Jul 26, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Looks like tons of fun.
- Report: ‘No chance’ Kevin Love stays with Timberwolves 41
- LeBron announces he’ll wear No. 23 with Cavaliers 54
- Report: Lakers say ‘no done deal’ with Byron Scott 17
- Report: Lakers, Byron Scott agree to four-year, $17 million deal to coach team 15
- Kevin Love trade talk: He doesn’t want to opt in to deal, Cavs may live with that 40
- Kevin Love leaving Team USA not helpful, certainly not devastating either 19
- Why are the Lakers hiring Byron Scott as head coach? 46
- Report: NBA considering week-long break for All-Star Game next year 10