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NBA Myth busters - LeBron James is not clutch

Mohit_Joshi
ANALYST
Feature
1.22K   //    Timeless

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers
Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers

With my second article in this series of debunking some of NBA's biggest myths, I have decided to catch the bull by the horns and prove to you why the criticism against LeBron James of not being clutch is flawed and borderline ignorant.

The everlasting denunciation of LeBron's apparent inability to carry his team past the finish line caught a new fire when the San Antonio Spurs beat the Los Angeles Lakers 143-142 earlier this season.

As the Lakers cut a big Spurs lead in the closing minutes of the game, LeBron hit a deep 3 with 2 seconds left i4+-n regulation time sent the game to Overtime. With 12.8 seconds left on the clock in Overtime, LeBron James found himself on the line shooting 2 free throws with the Lakers up by one.

LeBron missed both the free throws. Spurs scored two points on the other end and on the final possession of the game, LeBron put up an ill-advised long 2 from the left side and missed. This sparked the debate once again - Is LeBron James clutch?

LeBron James scored the game-winning shot against Toronto in Game 3
LeBron James scored the game-winning shot against Toronto in Game 3

I'm not going to go in-depth and discuss what clutch does or does not mean but providing a game-changing play in the final minutes of the game is what we generally label as a clutch play.


Debunking the myth

Most people get confused between being clutch and playing hero-ball. This is where a lot of people like to criticize LeBron. While scoring a buzzer beater over two defenders in the dying seconds of the game can boost your legacy, it's not synonymous with being clutch. A clutch pass or a clutch block is just as important as clutch game-winning shots.

LeBron James is the kind of a player who's first attempt is to make the right play. If it means passing the ball to an open teammate, he does it. Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan are the kinds of players with the shoot-first mentality.

Just because Kobe and MJ choose to take the final shot in clutch moments and LeBron looks to make the right play, it does not change the fact that LeBron James is clutch. Looking for the best shot to seal the game is no crime and this argument is heavily biased against LeBron James.

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For those of you who still believe that taking the final shot is the entirety of clutchness, LeBron made sure that he can do what Jordan and Kobe could do in his last season with the Clevland Cavaliers.

Last season, LeBron put the - " is he clutch?" debate to sleep with a heroic Playoff performance. He had two buzzer beaters in the Playoffs alone. One against the Indiana Pacers on the First Round and another in the Second Round which came against the Toronto Raptors.

While people choose Michael Jordan over LeBron James in the GOAT debate simply because they think LeBron isn't clutch, LeBron has hit more clutch shots in the Playoffs than MJ.

Statistically speaking, Lebron James has a better chance of scoring the game-winning shot than Michael Jordan - who is considered to be the most clutch player of all time. Last season LeBron led the NBA in points scored in the final 5 minutes of the game where the point differential is 5 points or less.

And yet, people will find a way to question Lebron's legacy by saying he is afraid of the moment. Below is a video of LeBron James being the textbook definition of clutch.


The myth that LeBron James is not clutch is now busted.



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