Quantcast
Thursday, May 19th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  72 responses

LeBron James Comes Up Clutch Once Again


Hey, remember when LeBron couldn’t close out games? Seems like years ago that this was considered even remotely true. After his Playoff heroics this season, that’s no longer the case. From ESPN: “Erik Spoelstra issued the order to LeBron James during every timeout in the fourth quarter, even if it was truly more of a plea. ‘We cannot have you fatigued,’ the Heat coach yelled to James over the ear-rattling din at the United Center. ‘For us to have a chance to win, you cannot afford to get tired.’ Dwyane Wade’s résumé might still be deeper, but the Miami Heat’s playoff run is starting to turn into James’ clutch coming-out party. It happened twice in the Heat’s takedown of the Boston Celtics in the previous round as James delivered a couple of the most impressive pressure performances of his career. It happened again Wednesday, this time in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in what felt like a must-win game against the Chicago Bulls. James didn’t get tired; he got stronger. And now the Heat are headed to Florida with home-court advantage after an 85-75 victory to even the series at 1. ‘Someone had to do something,’ James said. ‘And I knew the ball was going to be in my hands.’ This was not the case just a few weeks ago. After James went through some midseason trauma with the inability to convert clutch baskets in big games — he failed twice against the Bulls, as a matter of fact — the Heat quietly and clearly turned the late-game keys over to the more even-keeled Wade. It worked, too. James accepted his role as the second option, and the Heat became a more poised team in close games. This series is a long way from decided and Wade might be called back to the fore, but right now the pendulum has swung back to James as the Heat’s playmaker in the clutch. And despite failures in the past that started to dog his legacy, James is answering the bell. This time it was three stomach-twisting jumpers right into the teeth of the Bulls’ famously gritty defense with the game in the balance. Combined with several individual defensive stops that were part of a team-wide clinic, James added another chapter of fourth-quarter dominance to this postseason. He scored nine of his 29 points in the game’s final six minutes, turning a bloody stalemate into an unexpected landslide that changed the momentum of the series. ‘I work on this every day,’ James said. ‘It pays off in moments like this.’”

  • Add a Comment
  • Share
  • RSS

Tags: , , ,

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    In these playoffs…the only thing Lebron can’t close is the hater’s mouths. It’s fine though….they can rattle on throughout the summer as they have to get used to seeing red and black take home Larry O’Brien trophies for the next decade (Bulls fans will also be celebratory over the next few seasons too).

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Bron Bron has been a beast down the stretch in most games this post season. He has been a no show in a couple of losses.
    All in all, he is proving that he is clutch. He absolutely dominated down the stretch last night, guarding Rose, then switching to Deng and stripping him, making tough jumpers. Maybe BC has not put TPU up yet because it pains him to compliment LeBron.

  • logues

    im not going to call him clutch until he does something in the final ten seconds when its tied or they’re down, cuz he’s failed in that area basically every time he’s had a chance since he came to miami

  • RobbieJay

    After that 3 pointer, i knew he was going to take over, and the lead would last until the end of the game. I agree with Eboy, even if LeBron gets his “Clutch Card”, they’ll find something else to get on LeBron about.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Is that the only version of clutch? From the 5 minute mark down Bron took over. Therefore, they did not need a game winning or game tying shot.

  • logues

    no its not, but AllBall he’s failed EVERY time (i think, correct me if im wrong) this season when he had the chance to win the game, and he’s had quite a few chances. i think the last one he tried doing a spin move and completely lost the ball and turned it over and the c’s had a shot to win the game. alot of his shots havent even been close either in those situations, some of them even wide open. it might not be the only “version”, but its prolly the most important just my opinion tho. and if he cant make game winning shots i find it hard to label him clutch

  • http://slamonline.com JJAkroyd

    So sick of the ‘last 10 seconds’ or ‘only the game-winning shot counts’. The fact is, Bron closes games out. Throughout the 4th. Sure, Melo and Kobe hit tough Js to win by 1 or 2, but there’s a reason they need that last second shot. Watch the games and you’ll see, he’s going to get the win by dominating on more than one possession. I’d take 10-15 points, key passes and big boards in the 4th over one big shot any day.

  • http://slamonline.com JJAkroyd

    I also remember him turning over the ball against the C’s. I also remember him sticking on Paul Pierce the very next possession, shutting him down, forcing overtime and getting the win.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Royal

    Yeah Lebron put in work in the clutch last night….If you can’t respect that you either are a hater or don’t play basketball

  • http://slamonline.com JJAkroyd

    It’s kinda clutch when you don’t allow your teams chances to rely on a final shot to win a game. If you’re good enough to dominate the final 4.30 and score 9pts and stiffle (stifle?) Luol Deng at the other end, I’ll take it.

  • Todd X

    This is not to diminish Lebron in any way, he was clutch. While Lebron might have scored, Wade did an amazing job of shutting down Rose in the 4th quarter. Rose was not able to make plays due to the constant pressure. The work Wade put in off the ball on the offensive end of the court was not only clutch it was selfless. His work provided a target that could not be ignored by the Bulls defense, thus providing Lebron the opportunities to close out the game.

  • robb

    He’s getting better, it’s undeniable. You can tell he’s more focused than ever.

  • stryfee

    theres a reason why he doesnt need to take those last 10 second jumpers, because he dominates the fourth. and everyone is to quick to forget the clutch shots he also made as a cavalier

  • http://.com Cheema

    Not only did Lebron dominate on the offensive end in the clutch, he also shut Rose down in the final stretches and got a big steal on Deng!

  • logues

    i just think when its 10 sec or whatevr left in the game and its tied or ur down theres more pressure, becasue its “make this shot or lose.” its different cause sure its the 4th quarter and its important, but u have alot more breathing room esp in the nba with the shot clock ur gonna have alot more opportunities to come back. in the final sec, its one shot… one opportunity…

  • Mvp23100

    Not clutch stop watching Skip Bayless Brons been closing since early in his career he had a rough patch midseason so did Dwade and Kobe

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Bron might be more focused now. He needs to be, he cannot jump quite as high as he used to, and he cannot change direction with the ball any where as quick as he used to. His jump shot and post-up game are improving.

  • Fat Lever

    This just in…Labron is pretty good.

  • Dre

    Only children and idiots think last second shot are clutch. Lebron is extremely clutch… he took a team of practically D league players to the championship game and to the best record in the league. This is an impossible feet if you are not clutch. Most players are at best 25% for last second shots and for Lebron’s career he is like 29%. However when it comes to bringing a team from behind in the final 3 minutes and winning the game comfortably he leads in this department. To me I would much rather have that player then a player who waits until the last second to take a shot that he only has a 25% chance of making. However the media has played on fans and people with limited basketball knowledge and made clutch out to be a last second shot. Lebron is pretty clutch.

    AllBall Lebron is still extremely athletic and quick. Rumor has it he has been caught up in this fear of preserving his legs that he doesn’t jump as hard or try to dunk on people as much. This has helped and hurt… it has allowed him to improve his jumper a lot but it has caused him tomiss shots at the rim when he blows past a player. Now he blows past a player and tries to lay it up and sometimes it rolls right off the rim. When a year ago he would blow past a player and put them in the rim. His advisers have said he has gone into this mode of conserving his knees so he is still the same freak but he is holding back. he is scared of burning them out too soon.

  • Jono

    Whoever says LeBron isn’t clutch because his shots weren’t made with 10 secs left or so is an idiot. The NBA is about winning games and closing out games with 5 minutes left to avoid an uncomfortable scenario is defintely considered clutch.

  • Ronald

    Is it me or does Lebron look less athletic than before? He didn’t get up as high as he used to on that nice dunk today.

  • Bye bye

    Give bron credit haters he is the BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD FOR YEARS NOW

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    LeBron is still extremely athletic, and he is still very quick for his size. LeBron cannot jump as high as he used to, and cannot change direction with the ball like he used to. It’s easy to see from watching him not just in this series, but the whole season. If you think LeBron actively tries to not dunk the ball or not jump high to save him self, then we will agree to disagree.

  • http://.com Cheema

    @Allball

    I completely agree with u, I`ve been watchin Lebron for a long time and I remember him taking it to the rack and droping 45 on the 07 championship winning Celtics D in game 7. For some reason he can`t get the the rim as easily on the same defence like he once could.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Let’s not say he’s closing people out. The final score in the 4th quarter was what 14-10? That is not clutch, by anyone.

  • JTaylor21

    Yawn!!!!

  • Dre

    Lebron has not had one major injury to his knees.. not one. He is 26 years old… he won’t start losing his athletic ability until very early 30s unless he is injured. He has mentioned several times about conserving his knees. He even mentioned his knees when he talked about leaving Cleveland. He said he didn’t want to wait until his 30s when his knees are gone and not have a chip. His ex high school teammate and advisers talked about him wanting to conserve his legs. Why in the heck is this so hard for someone to believe from a 26 year old with no injuries? Not sure what’s so hard about that but some people never want to believe anything.

  • Dre

    You learn in the NBA when u dunk on people a lot and people get pissed and knock u to the grown it will take it’s toll. The man is protecting his body. He turns it on when the game is on the line.

  • Dre

    If there is a hidden injury we don’t know about that’s one thing but I remember the whole knee conversation this summer after the decision.

  • T-Money

    nbk: how do you call scoring 9 straight points with less than 4 mins to go if not closing someone out?

  • http://Slamonline.com Datkid

    I agree with alot of ya’ll…really even in that rough mid-season patch he was fine in the clutch(last 2-5 min) you just didn’t want him taking the last shot…Bron absolutely closed the bulls out last night..people need to take kobe’s dick out their mouth..there’s more than one way to finish a game

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    I guess from an viewership standpoint, you’d like to define clutch to be a shot at the buzzer. Fact is, LeBron and the Heat defense were hella clutch last night.

  • A.

    @nbk: The final score for the quarter was 14 – 10, Heat. But for the final 4min and change, the score was 12 – 2, Heat. And LeBron scored 9 of those 12. THAT is closing out. Just mentioning the points each team scored and basing your argument on that, without even attempting to delve a bit deeper and see how and when those points were score, is dishonest. You’re a stats guy, you should know this. And if you looked at the game, there’s no way in hell that you can’t say that the Heat and LeBron didn’t close the Bulls out. Don’t forget, with about 5 min left, the score was TIED. And the Heat won by 10. That says to me that one team was shut down. It’s not rocket science.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I saw that before Bron took over the heat had only scored two points in the fourth..

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I realize LeBron scored 9 points in the last 4 minutes. And Chicago scored 2, clearly the story of the “close-out” was defense. LeBron hit some huge shots, but he did not put on a jordan cape and churn out a great clutch performance or anything like that. Defense won the game, not LeBron James.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    basically if Chicago would have scored 13 points in the final 4 minutes this LeBron was clutch talk would be completely, 100%, non-existent. And y’all know it.

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    @nbk and IF LBJ scored 18 points in the final 4 minutes you’d counter with another, 100% weak juice argument?

  • Jono

    @nbk Haters will be haters. Using the word ‘if’ is plain stupid. If Chicago scored 13 points in the last 4 mintes? Are you really gonna say IF? How about IF LeBron made all his free-throws and hit a couple more field goals? Point being that it didn’t happen. Miami shut them down on defence when it mattered most and LeBron took over on offense. Clutch performance. Game won.

  • A.

    Maybe defense won the game, buuuutttt, with the score TIED, someone needed to score. And LeBron stepped up to the plate and hit a homerun. Why is it so hard to admit that dude played great at the end of the game when his team needed it the most? Also, only idiots are saying that he put on a Jordan cape, that’s to attract readers, it’s all bullsh*t. LeBron did what he ALWAYS does, which is put games out of reach. People said he wasn’t clutch and couldn’t perform in end of game situations, and that he needed Wade to close games for him. Now that’s he doing it, it’s not closing out. It’s only team defense. The team held Chicago to 2 points. Yes. But if LeBron hadn’t scored and willed the Heat to a win, they would have lost because those 2 points the Bulls had scored would have won the game, seeing that the score was tied and all.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    lol what? What is weak about my argument? that it’s true? If LBJ scored 18 in the final 4 minutes then I’d have no counter, because this he’s closing people out talk would have merit. Where was this talk when he actually did close out Boston? It was talk about how Boston just mailed it in at the end. There is no consistency with the commenter’s here, its just look at the end result and draw a conclusion. Don’t worry about anything else that happened, or the details, its the fact that he outscored Chicago by himself over the last 4 minutes, and Miami won that has everyone talking about how he closed out the Bulls. When really, Miami and Chicago locked each other up, Miami just hit more tough shots. LeBron misses those shots the majority of the time (more then 50%), but he makes them in one game and he’s suddenly a closer again? what are y’all a feather in the wind, just change direction on a subject after one game? LeBron is just as clutch as he was 4 years ago, Chicago is just as one-dimensional as they were 3 weeks ago, and defense is the key to the series. If Miami loses the next game in the last 2 minutes and LeBron doesn’t dominate is he a choke artist again? probably.

  • A.

    You can’t be that ignorant to make such a comment nbk, really. I guess being damn near the only person scoring in the final moments of a game isn’t considered closing anymore. I guess he didn’t close Boston out in Game 5 either? Yeah, it was all team defense. LeBron sucks.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    you can’t read.

  • A.

    Maybe he will be labeled a choke artist again if he misses in the clutch the next game, but why dismiss when he ACTUALLY closes out games? Where’s the sense in that? It just makes you come across as bitter. And f*ck the fact that he misses those shots normally, people don’t hit half court buzzer beaters every game, yet we marvel whenever it happens. Why should we be like “meh, he doesn’t hit those very often” when he does actually hit big shots? Where is all this whenever Kobe, or Melo or whoever the f*ck else hits these kinds of shots? I’m sure there’s a statistic that shows that LeBron’s midrange shooting percentages aren’t as terrible as you make them out to be. And if I’m not mistaken, hitting 45% of your shots in the midrange is a GREAT percentage. In other words, missing 55% of your shots from the midrange is considered great shooting. Dirk hits a bit over 50%, and he’s an alien. You’re arguments hold no water.

  • A.

    your*

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    You must not know anything about me, or pay attention to anything I say. at all. its your argument that holds no water, simply because it is not based on anything I’ve ever said.

  • A.

    Yeah, you’re right. LeBron did not close out the Bulls. He might as well have been on the bench, Boozer-style. The Heat don’t ever need to score, they just need to defend and they’ll win every game. As long as the score is 0 – 0 at the end of regulation, they’ll never lose! But I guess scoring 9 out of the last 14, with 12 of them being for Miami, is not closing out the game. He should have scored 10 like in the Boston game. Anyway, this is getting ridiculous, I’m done with this bullsh*t.

  • ..

    nbk’s defense comment actually supports LBJ’s clutchness even further since it was he who spearheaded the defensive efforts by shutting down Rose and Deng in the final minutes. He was clutch offensively AND defensively.

  • Jono

    nbk is actually Delonte West

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The Heat closed out the Bulls. LeBron led the charge, is he anymore clutch then he was before? No. Should yesterday’s game have changed anyone’s opinion on anything about LeBron James and the Heat? Not unless what changed is how you feel about them with Udonis Haslem. — Your reading comprehension is porous at best, if you know ever pay attention to what I say on this site (which you obviously don’t) you would know that I have had LeBron as the best player in the league, since the end of 2007. You’d also know how I feel about everyone else in the clutch which you clearly don’t, judging from your Kobe/Melo comment. And bringing up LeBron’s mid range shooting % in a clutch conversation is irrelevant to, just to let you know. As I was referring to his % in “clutch” situations only, and am perfectly aware of his efficiency throughout a whole game. Actually what I said about LeBron is not dissing/hating in anyway, saying the Heat closed out the Bulls is obviously true. Just look at what they score in an average quarter, or h*ll look at what LeBron scores by himself on average in the 4th quarter. What’s bullsh*t is you getting upset about a topic that you paid little attention too, and clearly know little to nothing about

  • Tom P

    the only knock i have on lbj is his refusal to join the dunk contest…this is a monumental fail on his overall legacy. Even still LBJ is the best right now and better than lame Kobe ever was

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    “its the fact that he outscored Chicago by himself over the last 4 minutes, and Miami won that has everyone talking about how he closed out the Bulls.” That’s what closing out a team means. Take it or leave it, but he did it and now people are talking. If Dirk goes 3-17 tonight, then people will probably stop saying he’s the best player in the Playoffs, that he’s completely upgraded his game since the last Finals appearance, and etc. But it wouldn’t mean he didn’t Dirkstroy the Thunder in game one, or the Lakers in Round 2. And true, Defense wins games, so if it helps, then fine Lebron didn’t come out in superhero fashion to save the city of Miami. But he spent the last 4 minutes of the game making sure they’d win, which in essence, is closing out a game. No superlatives, no super powers, just closing out the game by doing what his team needed, even if it was an unimpressive 3, a steal, a dunk, an another 18 footer.

  • Tom P

    and everyone get real the only reason anyone is hating on LBJ to begin with (other than his so called child like personality) is the fact that the three amigos basically took control of their destinies from the owners and have empowered all players in the nba as a result, if i was an owner I would hate him too! Its funny cause most dont even realize this is why they hate him..

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I realize LeBron was the catalyst, but he didn’t “close out the Bulls” – Miami did, and LeBron did the scoring. To give the credit for the Heat closing out the Bulls to LeBron is ignoring what the Heat did on defense, and also ignoring the fact that LeBron barely put up even an average 4th quarter. If you want to consider what happened a result of LeBron being great fine by me, but I question your intelligence or the strength of your character. Especially if your one of those people that comes on here judging players differently after every game. LeBron was great yesterday, he’s great in just about every game, just because Chicago struggled to score for the whole 4th quarter doesn’t make what LeBron did special. His 10 straight to comeback from 5 down against Boston was special. The 29 of 30 & 26 straight against Detroit in (gasp) 2007 was special. His 9 in 4 minutes against a Chicago team that scored a whopping 10 points in the whole 4th quarter? won’t be talked about again, ever.

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    A single player averaging 9 pts in the 4th qtr is considered great in this league. To score that much in the span of the last 4:30 of a game where both defenses were so suffocating that nobody else managed to score? I’d call it a clutch performance.

  • Tom P

    Lebron definately clutch performance, if the heat get passed the bulls i dont see them losing rings for the next six years!

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    9 points in 4 minutes is essentially a shot a minute. Its not that impressive when every other possession (at minimum) runs through you, especially when your the best player on earth. Look LeBron should/does (i can’t find the stat) average more then 9 points per 4th quarter in the playoffs, so his scoring whatever he did yesterday was nothing more then an average offensive performance, during one of the best defensive games of all time. So if your saying the fact that he was average in such a great defensive game is clutch, then I am wrong and concede. But this will never be mentioned as one of his most clutch performances, and it shouldn’t.

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    I agree it’s not his most clutch, and also that in the grand scheme of this year’s playoffs, it doesn’t rank that high. It’ll probably only get brought up again if they win the whole thing, on their limited edition DVD no less. But even with that, helping your team win the game isn’t about points per minute or how well you shoot %-wise or if you beat the buzzer. It’s simply about helping your team win. If Tim Duncan hit a wide open 15-footer off the glass to win a game where the final score was 19 to 18, he’s still playing clutch basketball, even if the way he did it was about as entertaining as watching paint dry and the game itself was horrible. I bet you Rose and Co would have given anything to be as un-clutch as Lebron last night, as long as they came away with the W.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I’m not saying he wasn’t important or the catalyst to the victory. But “LeBron comes up clutch again” and then go onto say this “Miami Heat’s playoff run is starting to turn into James’ clutch coming-out party. It happened twice in the Heat’s takedown of the Boston Celtics in the previous round as James delivered a couple of the most impressive pressure performances of his career. It happened again Wednesday, this time in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in what felt like a must-win game against the Chicago Bulls. James didn’t get tired; he got stronger” – really? This is his clutch coming out party? 9 points in a 14 point 4th quarter? If a Michael Jordan led team only scored 14 points in the 4th Quarter MJ would have likely killed his entire team and maybe himself. lol my issue is not with LeBron or how clearly great he is, its with the over-exaggerating. But me and eboy had this conversation already, so I understand it now. I just don’t at all like it, or the defense of it.

  • http://.com Cheema

    nbk is just a pure hater. lmao

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    @nbk, though I wouldn’t rank it in the top 5 of LBJ’s best playoff performances, I think it was certainly clutch. Just like that game-winner Kobe dropped on the Kings last year isn’t something I’d bother mentioning to my grandkids, it’s still a clutch moment.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    9 points in 4 minutes is not a game winner. This is absurd. 9 points in 4 minutes in the 4th quarter by a player has probably happened around 10 times, in the postseason in this year alone.. The only reason this is even significant is because of the level of defense. Infact if anything he closed the game out by defending Rose and making a couple timely shots. Clutch? Yes. Does it stand outamong clutch performances in his career? Not in my opinion. Does it stand out enough to say he has “made a statement?” lol definitely not, unless by statement you mean he’s done something he’s always occasionally (just like now) done in the postseason

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    And if you haven’t noticed, I’m not surprised by how the game turned ou. Or that LeBron scored the majority of the points again. If anything, I’m the opposite of a hater. If LeBron’s performance last night was “clutch” like it could have been considering the Bulls struggles,Wade and LeBron could have been comfortably seated the last 2-3 minutes. Bottom line, no matter how good the defense is, when you have the best player on earth (even though they have the best two but whatever) you should never lose to a team that only puts up 10 points in a quarter. Ever. If Miami lost and Chicago put up >15 in the 4th, this would be a Miami joked comment section. Huh?

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    I’m a huge Kobe fan….and I refuse to hate on Lebron. He’s really starting to step in the clutch. I mean REALLY starting to kill.

  • http://nicekicks.com meloman2.0

    I wouldnt necessarily call what hes been doing clutch…. clutch is hiting shots to win games… shots that, if they miss, u lose. Lebrons scoring shots with full minutes left in the game

  • http://slamonline.com Michael

    meloman2.0 STFU

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    There are different types of clutch meloman 2.0, there’s the “buzzer-beater” clutch(which Kobe & Melo is/was/will always be famous for), the defensive clutch(can’t think of an example off the top maybe Noah against Pierce in ’09 or T.Prince against Reggie in ’04), and the “killer clutch”(taking a game over when your team most needs it.) Lebron has shown the “killer” clutch twice this post-season, and also back in ’07 against the Pistons. Kobe has done that most notably against the Raptors in ’06 when he scored 81 in one game (or 55 points in one half).

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    *Clutch is the ability to perform with the game on the line, those are the types of clutch(forgive me if i missed one)

  • http://slamonline.com everything

    “i spoil (nbk) with my play”

  • giogolo

    IS IT JUST ME OR THAT WAS A NON-CALL ON DENG BY BIBBY ON THE BREAK THAT ACTUALLY GAVE A BOOST TO THE MOMENTUM BY BRON AND THE GAME.

  • kev

    it’s nonsense to judge wether or not a player is clutch by if they hit a shot at the buzzer(which Lebron happens to have done many times) There are so many more clutch plays that determine the outcome of a game other than a final desperation heave. Haters of Lebron will always find another reason not to like him even after he starts winning rings. Lets not forget his 40 plus point duel with paul pierce in game 7, 25 sraight against the pistons, 3 point buzzer beater to win the game against miami, hard to the hole against the wizards at the buzzer for the win, taking the worst team ever to reach the finals, clutch play against the celtics once again this year!!!! the list goes on and on. If you dont like him as a player fine, but lets stop fooling ourselves. He is the best in the game!

  • logues

    someone please give me their definition of clutch

  • ohgeefreeks310

    where does kobe stand on the clutch?

Advertisement