A Little Help From His Friends

I've long contended that part of the criticism leveled at LeBron James is his penchant for pass-first play, leading to a lot of missed shots by teammates. I've also always thought that that was largely a lazy and uninformed opinion, as his decisions to pass out of double-teams to wide open teammates is the right basketball play. NBA players should hit open shots more often than not. Unfortunately for LeBron, those shots, especially the crunch-time ones, are all too often missed.

Not this series.

Shane Battier, James Jones, Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers, and now, finally, Mike Miller (4-4) are all hitting the open looks when defenses collapse on James and, less frequently, Dwyane Wade. So far tonight, Miami is a remarkable 7-12 from downtown; major reason that they are ahead by 17 with five minutes left in the first half and just 29 minutes from locking up LeBron's first title.

When James' teams have lost in the past, he shouldered a disproportionate amount of the blame, while his under-achieving teammates were spared their share. Now, if Miami wins tonight, they will likely mis out on their share of the credit. Nature of the beast, I suppose. For what it's worth, however, LeBron is 5-6 from the field with 5 rebound and 5 assists accompanying his 13 points.

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