LeBron James Unable to Close Out Game 2 of the Finals

by June 03, 2011

After playing the celebrated role of “closer” so brilliantly throughout these Playoffs, James faltered down the stretch late last night during the Heat’s epic collapse, causing fans and media in Miami to start panicking a bit all over again. From the Herald: “Closing games in the playoffs looked way too easy. Launching threes, hitting threes, shutting down superstars, holding the slimmest of leads at home or on the road — all of it appeared to be a piece of cake for LeBron James and the Heat in these playoffs. And then Thursday happened. And then the fourth quarter happened. And then Dirk Nowitzki happened. And then all those good feelings that had been built up over the past two series of impressive close-outs dissolved with one left-handed layup. An injured left hand at that. The final 7 minutes 14 seconds of Thursday’s stunning Mavericks win were an awful, horrendously timed reminder of just how ineffective the Heat offense can be when things go stagnant, when LeBron’s miracle threes aren’t falling through the net, when the other team has someone just as capable of hitting demoralizing buckets. And as much as James was credited for those amazing close-out performances against the Celtics and Bulls, he has plenty of blame to take in this one. One awful finishing performance doesn’t entirely erase everything James has done up to this point in previous fourth quarters. But in this game, on the biggest of stages, it certainly creates a few cases of temporary amnesia.”