“I Can’t Win” Says LeBron James Right After He Loses
March 3 / Eric Goldschein / SportsGrid
How far we have come from the days of "Not five, not six, not seven" championships. LeBron James once again passed up the final shot last night, dishing out of the double team to a wide open Udonis Haslem with two seconds left against the Utah Jazz. Haslem clanked a 17-footer that would have given the Heat their 10th straight win, and may have spared The King from the media firestorm that continues to plague him every time he refuses to put the game on his shoulders. He was quoted as saying after the game, "I can't win." Sorry, LeBron. You can't win when you lose.
To give LeBron some credit, he did everything he could (short of taking the last shot) to win this game. His stat line of 35 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and a trio of blocks was on par with his usual outrageous self, and he continues to have one of the best seasons of any NBA player, ever. The Heat were down big in the third quarter, and despite a few boneheaded fouls by Dwayne Wade, Miami was in an improbable position to steal this game in the final seconds on the road.
And yet, rather than showing that he learned anything from last week's All-Star Game (or any other game where he passed the ball rather than shoot for the win in his basketball career), LeBron took one look at a sort-of double team from the Jazz defense and decided to pass the rock. The career of Michael Jordan was rolling over in its grave at that moment.
"I can't win," he said afterwards, because, yeah man, you lost! The whole weight of the world seems to be LeBron's shoulders after a loss, but that's only because he put it there. Making The Decision, promising multiple championships, and trying to be the greatest player of all time doesn't come without consequences.
And in a way, despite what he says, this kind of thing is a win-win for LeBron. He may say that he was just trying to make the right play, but at the end of the day a pass rather than a shot is almost exactly that: a pass. He took a pass on winning the game for his team. He may have to fend off criticism for not taking the shot, but by not taking it he effectively goes another night without having to be the true deciding factor. Instead, the onus of the game is passed to Haslem, who is far from automatic with a brief, outside look as the clock winds down.
The true greats, no matter what the situation, want that pressure, and want those consequences, when the game is on the line. Just ask Jeremy Lin after the Toronto Raptors game. You take that shot because you know you might fail, but as the saying goes, "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take."
Also, the Heat still have the second best record in the East and this is the first loss in the last 10 games for them. So, you know, no big deal. Right?
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