Sometimes I read things LeBron says and I have a reaction and I think… I'd better go back and read this again just to make sure i'm not overreacting. This was one of those times. But no matter how much I read this, it still sounds a whole lot like excuses.
"It's been challenging not just for those of us who have been constants in the starting lineup but for those guys who have been in and out, not knowing if they're going to start or not,"
[…]"It's been a challenge for all of us," said James, who also has played minutes at center in the series with the Celtics.
"At times it's been hard to get a rhythm starting the game or starting the third quarter. That has been a rotating door for the last two years, not just this series. There's Joel, C.B., U.D. at times, Ronny and Damp and Z. The list goes on in just two years."
This is the thing that is hard for some people to understand.
I don't care if is true. I don't care that shuffling line ups might make things a little difficult on the team. I don't care that the salary cap is structured in a way that you can't have three stars and then a lot of other really good players too.
You don't say it.
You DON'T… say it.
Because your team is listening to you. Because they need to hear a guy who is confident in himself and confident in them. They need to hear a player who is solidly behind his coach, even if he's not, so they can take some direction and walk onto the court with some feel that starting Dexter Pittman will be ok.
Because hearing those things calms you. Because knowing your leader is thinking 'we got this' makes you think 'yeah, we got this!'
Some people will scoff, but I know this is the truth. Listen to the way the great leaders speak, and you don't hear all this stuff.
I know a lot of people will want to scoff at the "LeBron's not clutch" refrain. And I will admit it is horribly overblown because he has had some great clutch moments. But then he has that fourth quarter in Game 5 where he's listless and lazy and it brings you back to last year's Finals where he was the same… and you read countless comments like this and you start to piece a few things together.
He doesn't have the same "killer instinct" a lot of these other guys do. And it's not because he passes sometimes in the clutch. Some of the greatest clutch plays have been passes by megastars. It's that he's not afraid to take the easy way out.
Quote like this are just more evidence of that. He's not afraid to take the easy way out if the excuse is there.
The Heat might win tonight… they might win Saturday too… but LeBron's willingness to make these excuses will have to evaporate quickly for that to happen.