LeBron James can’t beat the Spurs. He shrinks in the moment against a true team unafraid of his superstar status.
That’s the overriding narrative after San Antonio beat LeBron’s Heat in NBA Finals last season and LeBron lost the ball on the Cavaliers’ final possession tonight.
Never mind that LeBron led Miami over the Spurs in the 2013 Finals. Never mind that LeBron played great in the 2014 Finals, losing only because his teammates couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain.
The narrative is obviously nonsense.
That said, LeBron deserves his share of blame for Cleveland’s loss tonight. He shot 6-for-17, got to the line for only one free throw and committed five turnovers. He couldn’t even dribble to halfcourt before losing control of the ball on the final possession. That blunder, and much of the Cavaliers’ shortcomings in this one, were on him.
It wasn’t because he choked. It wasn’t because the moment (of a November regular-season game) was too big for him. It wasn’t because he’s not clutch.
Sometimes, the ball just slips away.