The Lakers were in a great position to win the championship in the game against the Heat, but their last play in which LeBron assisted Danny Green for an open three didn’t come through. The instant reaction after the game was that LeBron should have taken the last shot himself, especially when you considered he already scored 40 points in the game. After the game, everyone’s initial thought was that he didn’t make a wrong decision by passing it to Green, but everyone expected him to try and win the game by himself.
LeBron’s hesitation in taking last shots is not something new, and there were several occasions in which other players on his team were taking that responsibility upon themselves. Kobe Bryant, a Lakers legend and LeBron incredibly admire and respects, even argued with LeBron on passing up on a potential game-winning shot.
The All-Star game in 2012, which was played in Orlando, and LeBron was in the starting lineup for the East. Even though LeBron had a monster game and scored 36 points, there were a few questionable plays in the last minutes of that game that caused Kobe to get frustrated at LeBron.
The West was leading 151-149, with 16 seconds left on the clock with the last possession in LeBron’s hands. He was guarded by Kobe, who wanted that challenge, but LeBron first passed the ball to Deron Williams, who missed an open three. They were able to get the rebound, which eventually ended up in LeBron’s hands, who instead of taking the shot, LeBron tried to find an open teammate, but his pass was stolen, and the game was over. Kobe immediately went up to LeBron and pretty much told him he was the one who had the right to take the last shot.
“Yeah, he was telling me to shoot it. I [saw] my teammate open for a split second, I told him I [saw] him open for the first time, and I didn’t release the ball. When I [try] to throw it late, that’s usually what happens, and it results in a turnover. Definitely, wish I could have had that one back.”LeBron James, via Cleveland.com
LeBron was later on frustrated by his decision making on the last few plays in the game and realized he could have done much more to win the game.
“I can’t turn the ball over like that. I let my team down. but overall it was a great weekend.””LeBron James, via Cleveland.com
That was also the game when Kobe passed Michael Jordan as the all-time leading All-Star scorer, and Kevin Durant was named the games MVP.
It will be interesting to see if LeBron will be even more aggressive on offense in game six, which is a must-win for the Lakers. If it comes down to the last shot, which might so happen, LeBron should take the responsibility to make the right play even if it means taking that shot. The late great Kobe Bryant would probably not even consider passing it to a teammate, but that is also the main difference in how these two approach and play the game.