Who deserves the credit/blame for LeBron's game-winner?

LeBron hits buzzer-beater in thrilling Game 1 win; who deserves the credit/blame?

5/23/13 in NBA   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Blog Photo - Who deserves the credit/blame for LeBron's game-winner?Wednesday night's series opener between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat was just about as wild of a game as you'll see in the NBA. There were great plays, bad calls, heated exchanges, and displays of cold blooded, clutch basketball. To explain the entire game would take me pages upon pages, so I'll just focus on one part of the contest.

With 2.2 seconds remaining in overtime, the Heat were set to inbound the ball in the frontcourt. The Pacers led the game 102-101. LeBron James received the inbounds pass, drove right past Paul George, and tossed the ball into the basket for the buzzer-beating, game-winning layup. The shot was essentially uncontested.

Here's a look at how it went down (the view at the 1:00 mark is the best, in my opinion):

With how hard the Pacers fought throughout this game, how could they possibly give up such an easy shot to let the Heat win? I'll dish out some credit and some blame for what happened at the end of Wednesday's game:


LeBron James: 
LeBron doesn't get credit just for the final possession - I'm also giving him credit for the previous possession, on which he also drove right around his defender for a layup. Though I root against LeBron with all my heart, it's great to see a player with his skill set finally take the ball to the rim in the clutch. Part of the reason that he has such a low percentage on game-winners is because he frequently settles for difficult jump shots. Sure, driving for a game-winning layup isn't quite as dramatic as hitting a fadeaway jumper, but it's far more effective in his case.

I don't believe in the concept of "they didn't win, the other team lost." What all sports games come down to is one team being better than the other. If a team screws up to lose a game, give credit to the other team for not screwing up in the big moment. The team that won was the better team, and it's as simple as that. LeBron definitely got one of the easier game-winners that you'll see in the playoffs, but he did exactly what he needed to to win the game. LeBron was aggressive, and he finished nicely with the left hand. I'm giving credit where credit is due - to LeBron James.

Erik Spoelstra: Coaching the Miami Heat may seem like basketball's easiest job, but believe it or not, head coach Erik Spoelstra actually has to use his basketball knowledge every once in a while. He drew up the inbounds play to put his best player (LeBron) in a one-on-one situation, and for that, he deserves credit.

Chris Bosh: Pacers center Roy Hibbert was not in the game on the final two possessions, and Chris Bosh was the reason why. Pacers coach Frank Vogel did not want Hibbert chasing Bosh - who was the center on the Heat's final two offensive plays - around the perimeter, as Hibbert is 7'2'' and not a great athlete. I believe that Bosh has become one of the more underrated players in the league, and it was his ability to cause matchup problems that prompted Vogel to sit down one of the game's elite rim protectors in Hibbert. No, Bosh did not really do anything on the play itself, but what he brings to the table on a nightly basis got Hibbert out of the game, and allowed LeBron to take an easier shot.
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5/24/13   |   PurrsAlot   |   1606 respect

orangemen90 wrote:
I guess one cold blame his childhood coach that made him work on both hands... Would have made no difference who the Pacers sent out there,,, he was going to win that game,...

He would have had to shoot an outside jumper.  He would not have gotten cleanly to the rim and his outside J was not falling that good last night.  Or he would have had to dish it off and with 2.2 left 
the chance of dishing it off and getting a shot off would have been less likely.  Not having Hibbert in 
was bad coaching and LeBron smartly took advantage of that gaff.

5/23/13   |   orangemen90   |   5785 respect

I guess one cold blame his childhood coach that made him work on both hands... Would have made no difference who the Pacers sent out there,,, he was going to win that game,...

5/23/13   |   PurrsAlot   |   1606 respect

the blame that is.

5/23/13   |   PurrsAlot   |   1606 respect

The coach that decided Roy Hibbert should be on the bench.  The guy that stopped Carmello cold at the rim was on the bench giving LeBron a gimme!

5/23/13   |   Trokspot   |   65 respect

I couldn't agree more with your entire analysis. Well done (though unfortunate for the Pacers).