LeBron James Prepared to Guard Nate Robinson

by May 08, 2013

With Derrick Rose out of the picture for the Bulls/Heat series, LeBron James wasn’t supposed to have a one-on-one challenge on the defensive end. After the surprising Game 1 result, Miami may need to call upon LeBron to shut down Nate Robinson at crunch time. James says he’s up for the challenge. Per the Miami Herald: “The Heat’s uncharacteristic defensive lapse in the fourth quarter of Game 1 continued to gnaw at Heat coach Erik Spoelstra a day after his team’s 93-86 loss to the Bulls on Monday night. The Heat was outgunned 35-24 in the final period, with the Bulls scoring the final 10 points of the game. At the center of Chicago’s dominant late-game charge was diminutive point guard Nate Robinson, who scored nine of the Bulls’ final 12 points, including the last seven of the game. The days between games in a tight series are always about making the proper adjustments, but Spoelstra bristled when asked a question about his decision to sub out defensive specialist Norris Cole in favor of starter Mario Chalmers with 5:38 left in the game. With Chalmers and Ray Allen guarding the perimeter, Robinson had a hand (points or assists) in 14 of the Bulls’ final 17 points, including a driving, finger-roll layup that put Chicago ahead 90-86 with 45.5 seconds left. ‘The guy had [27 points], so he had it going most of the game,’ Spoelstra said of Robinson. […] After Monday’s defensive debacle, LeBron James said he ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if he was ‘stuck’ guarding Robinson late in games. ‘I’ll take the challenge on anyone,’ James said.”