Sports have never been a focal point for the League, so I’ll put this one below the fold . . .
What’s up with LeBron James? Amateur psychology is the last resort of lazy sportswriters, but a few of his recent playoff games beg some serious questions about the guy’s state of mind. I don’t care if he’s scoring less than Wade. I don’t care if he’s looking to pass instead of shoot. I don’t care if his best plays come on the defensive end and don’t make ‘Sportscenter’. But eight points? When you’re being guarded by the likes of DeShawn Stevenson and Jason Kidd? What gives?
Up until last year, I thought James was unfairly maligned for coming up short in the playoffs. The Cavs were routinely overmatched. His 2007 Eastern Conference Finals performance against the Pistons is legendary. Against Orlando in 2009, LeBron was averaging absolutely ridiculous numbers despite insurmountable odds.
But last year, Boston’s six game playoff victory took me by surprise. James came up short against a team he had shown he could dominate in the same series. Maybe it was an isolated lapse. Maybe it was pure pique. Maybe he just didn’t care about a franchise he knew he was going to leave no matter what.
But LeBron’s in Miami now. He doesn’t have to carry the scoring load every night. A repeat – or even a half-hearted imitation – of his defense-oriented game three effort would have been more than enough to beat a flux-ridden Dirk and the Mavericks, effectively wrapping up the series. So what gives? Why is the most physically-gifted basketball player in the league checking out?
It’s entirely possible I’m overreacting to one bad game. But that had to be one of the most baffling playoff performances I’ve ever witnessed.