I know I'm supposed to jump hard on the runaway bandwagon that suggests that LeBron James’ performance in which he single-handedly smacked around the Celtics in Boston was some how clutch. From my understanding, “clutch,” as we define it in basketball terminology, is defined as such: Performance in 4th quarter or overtime, with less than 5 minutes left and neither team ahead by more than 5 points.
At least that's what the stat heads tell us it should be. It would be my contention that LeBron James, in a close-out game on the road, did what super stars are supposed to do. That is, he put up a giant middle finger to the opposing team's crowd while carrying his team to a victory.
I'm not hating, I'm really not. Yes, 45-15-5 while shooting 73 percent with only 5 turnovers on the enemy's floor is phenomenal, outstanding, superb, etc. But I still can't call it clutch.
Why do we have to put the bar for LeBron so low? He was a runaway freight train in a game the Heat had to win; I'm not sure that's as much clutch as it is big.
Why do we have to put the bar for LeBron so low? He was a runaway freight train in a game the Heat had to win; I'm not sure that's as much clutch as it is big. It could be semantics, yet if we're going to talk about epic performances — which James' was — then you have to put it in a proper context.
Karl Malone had big games on the road, as did Clyde Drexler, as did Patrick Ewing. Yet wasn't their inability to perform late in big games our biggest gripe when comparing them to the Hakeems, Jordans and Birds? We never questioned whether Ewing, Malone and co. would show up in general; we questioned their ability to show up down the stretch in big games. And for those keeping score at home, that’s still something LeBron hasn't shown the ability to do.
James single-handedly put the Celtics in a sleeper hold last night, and did it by playing with a little bit of an edge. He didn't moan about calls the officials did or didn't make, but just he did what superstars are supposed to do: he asserted his will and carried his team to a winner-take-all matchup back in the friendly confines of the American Airlines Party…I mean Arena.
No one should discount what James did last night, yet when my Facebook feed and phone blows up with comments like "See…no more hating on LeBron just look at what he did," I get a little twitchy. First of all, being critical isn't hating, and second of all, just what has he done? Showing up in big games is what he's paid to do (granted, 45-15-5 isn't just showing up; it's rolling in a Bentley with dubbed out rims and blaring music).
His performance thus far in the postseason has been astonishing, but let's not jump to conclusions like we did in 2007 when he went haywire in the fourth quarter against the Pistons. The knock on him and Heat is still the same: sure they can throttle teams on their floor in must-have games, yet can they do it when the other team is staring them right in the eye and refuses to go away? That's clutch, and that's something we still need to see.
Fan Hub Action
Jeanne-Marie Jansen Lowell May 23rd
Greatest relief pitcher EVER! Someday we can all tell our grandchildren we got to see him pitch. A true legend!
Charlie Lobosco May 23rd
Ask Craig; I’ll say it again; not the best relief pitcher ever; the best MLB player ever. Yes, that includes everyone.
Jim Lowell May 23rd
Great tribute to a great player, a great Yankee, and a great man.Thank you!
Frank Lowell May 23rd
Great job, Ryan! As a life-long Yankee hater since the 1950’s in the closing days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, I can only sit back and…
Tiffany Riddle May 23rd
Love the article, and I completely agree!
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
May 22nd, 2013 2:56 PM
May 23rd, 2013 1:49 PM
May 20th, 2013 9:09 AM
ALL TIME FAVES
April 16th, 2013 12:15 PM
April 9th, 2013 11:57 AM
April 16th, 2013 3:48 PM
March 1st, 2013 8:37 AM