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LeBron James follows cramp game with jumper game

Jun 9, 2014, 12:08 AM EDT

LeBron James LeBron James

It wasn’t long ago jump shots were LeBron James’ defining flaw.

That time seems so removed only because LeBron has so convincingly turned his outside shot into a weapon.

Since, his critics have found new complaints.

LeBron isn’t clutch. LeBron hasn’t won a championship. LeBron can’t handle cramps.

Well, LeBron has answered all the isn’t/hasn’t/can’ts. He’s made plenty of clutch shots – never mind how he’s redefined the importance of clutch passing – and won two titles.

And, to answer the incessant those critics who equate debilitating cramping with lacking a will to win, he turned to that once-weakness.

LeBron scored 35 points – 19 of them on shots outside 16 feet – in the Heat’s 98-96 win over the Spurs in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday.

“I just trust the hard work and dedication that I put into the game,” LeBron told Doris Burke, who asked about his jumper. “When the cameras are not around, I put a lot of hard work into the game.”

After a slow start (0-for-3, all on shots within 15 feet, with a turnover), LeBron went on a personal 8-0 run midway through the fourth quarter. He hit two 3-pointers and a 19-footer on three Miami possessions, forcing a Spurs timeout.

LeBron was the first Heat player sitting on the bench, but this time, he got back up – and kept the jumpers coming.

Here’s his second-half shot chart:

lebron james shot chart game 2 2014 finals second half

Not a single shot in the paint!

LeBron is not afraid of what his detractors say he can’t handle. He’s keenly aware of his abilities – the most vast in the league – and plays within them. That’s why I never believed he could have returned while cramping in Game 1. If LeBron could play, he would have. He couldn’t, so he didn’t.

Thankfully for Miami, LeBron could handle more than 37 minutes in Game 2 – second only to Tim Duncan (!) tonight. The Heat desperately need LeBron in these Finals.

  • With him: +11 (71 minutes)
  • Without him: -24 (25 minutes)

The Spurs defend too well to allow LeBron to play to his strengths, but LeBron’s game is too diverse to completely contain. San Antonio’s defensive strategy was sound, and some of those jump shots were contested.

But LeBron is just too good. That was really the key to Game 2 – LeBron being better than everyone else.

Not that anyone will talk about that to the extent his cramps overwhelmed all other Game 1 storylines.

LeBron making jumpers is far less-compelling theatre.

Nobody will praise LeBron’s fundamental dominance in pursuit of attention. Nobody will compare LeBron favorably to Michael Jordan’s all-time great jump-shooting. Nobody will tweet photos of themselves shooting jumpers and tag them #LeBronning.

Instead, LeBron has a tied series heading to Miami and the quiet satisfaction of knowing he answered his critics.

Again.

  1. thenmoveback - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Beast mode

    • leahcima1 - Jun 9, 2014 at 7:42 AM

      It’s fun that all the haters watch every minute of the Heat playoff games, build up the TV ratings, whine like Hell and the outcome is always the same – Heat win and the whiners look look fools.

  2. angulocarlos1 - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    King James 🔥🔥

  3. goldmember21 - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    It’s official. Please just give him the trophy.

  4. dolphindubs - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    This game should keep the haters at bay for a few days…

  5. jbeagles23 - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    The haters say once he’s a little older hell be awful cause he had no jumper

  6. seattlesuperchronic - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    I just replayed Batman: Arkham City. I consider it to be the LeBron James of Batman video games. Such an awesome game.

  7. antistratfordian - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    The Spurs have themselves a problem. They got most of their wins last year in the first 3 games when they kept going under screens on LeBron asking him to take jumpers – but he wouldn’t bite – so he only scored in the teens and SAS got two of their three wins.

    But that hesitant shooter against San Antonio vanished for good in Game 7 last year. Now they really have no way to defend him. Leonard isn’t up to the task. Diaw can’t do anything. They basically just have to hope that James has an inaccurate day – but in a season (and playoffs) when he’s shooting over 56% that’s just unlikely.

    • babyfarkmcgeezax - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:04 AM

      logicalvoices

  8. seattlesuperchronic - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:37 AM

    How many times can you say the same thing? We get it. You think the Heat are great.

    • seattlesuperchronic - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:38 AM

      That was for you Anti. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

    • antistratfordian - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:52 AM

      How many times? Well this was only the 2nd time I’ve talked about this specific thing. When I brought it up last week I was unfairly criticized for all sorts of ridiculous reasons. But, once again, I was right. And this is completely relevant to an article about LeBron’s shooting against the Spurs, isn’t it? Yes it is.

      So lighten up, squirt.

      • seattlesuperchronic - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:00 AM

        Im plenty light, bucko. If you don’t understand the general point I’m trying to make, that’s on your end.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:06 AM

        Oh, ic. You really meant to say, “Stop talking about LeBron’s shooting against the Spurs on an article about LeBron’s shooting against the Spurs!”

        Don’t hate; appreciate. I’m dropping real knowledge here that is absolutely going to make a difference in this series. Maybe you should read it, consider it, and become more informed – instead of whining.

      • seattlesuperchronic - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:26 AM

        Okay, let me generalize it for you. Every Heat or Spurs article posted, you come on here shamelessly slurping the Heat. You got your fancy numbers from espn and wherever else you find them to prop them up. I love the Heat and the Spurs so I have no agenda in disliking your rantings.

        The arrogance is not a good look on you. “Don’t hate; Appreciate”? Cliches should be beneath someone that fancies himself a knowledge dropper. Oh look, you used another cliche!

      • antistratfordian - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:47 AM

        Talk about overused cliches. Your problem is that you think someone correctly outlining how and why a team is going to win amounts to “slurping.”

        Here’s another cliche for you: Nope.

      • seattlesuperchronic - Jun 9, 2014 at 3:12 AM

        I don’t know why I got all snippy with you, anti, but I apologize. Honestly and sincerely. Keep on doing your thing, bro, I be sorry. I ask for forgiveness. Friends?

      • antistratfordian - Jun 9, 2014 at 3:25 AM

        Well that’s an internet first. Are you high right now? Jk.

        Np. We’re cool. We have a lot in common, you know.

      • miamatt - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        Thank you, @chronic and @anti, for teaching us the true power of friendship.

        :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  9. dolphindubs - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:17 AM

    No kb2408? No cantonbound13?

    Interesting…

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:22 AM

      You’re talking about a LAKERS fan and a Knicks fan. How do they pertain to this article?

      • loungefly74 - Jun 9, 2014 at 8:30 AM

        Laker fans have no qualms in this series. I’m sure they are enjoying it like everybody else. As a Laker fan…I’m happy either way…Heat win, it denies TD with his 5th…Spurs win, denies Heat a 3-peat…Lakers have done both in the past 15 years. That my “Laker-fan angle” on this series… muuhahahaha!!!!

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        YO! I was looking at it the same way! lol

  10. dolphindubs - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:29 AM

    @00maltliquor

    Well…seeing as how those LAKERS and Knicks fans post comments on every Heat article after a Heat loss, I would expect them to stay consistent and post after a Heat win as well.

    Hence the calling them out.

  11. charlutes - Jun 9, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    What are you talking about? All anyone ever does anymore is praise Lebron for being the best. Just cuz the trolls come out when he cramps up, so what? Every single person I talk to and everyone I read or listen to in the media agrees that Lebron is obviously the best right now. He’s the most popular figure in North American sports, which means he’s going to get a lot of attention, for the good and the bad moments. I guess it also means every sports writer is going to take their turn defending Lebron from the haters and proclaiming him a great player…no duh. There’s no one remotely credible on the other side of this argument it’s just media shouting at no one.

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