Mavs swingman DeShawn Stevenson is an old pro when it comes to baiting LeBron James, though his criticism of James following last night’s 86-83 Dallas victory in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, is eerily reminiscent of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s accusations of quitting during the 2010 Eastern Conference finals against Boston. From DallasNews.com :
Stevenson says the Heat forward “checked out” in the final minutes of Game 4 on Tuesday night, when James was held to eight points — the lowest he managed in 90 career playoff games.
Stevenson isn’t worried about the perception of his comments, either.
After Dallas practiced Wednesday, Stevenson was saying that the Heat are still getting to know each other, that James wasn’t himself in Game 4 and that the two-time MVP is “talented enough that he can use anything in the paper to kind of boost his ego.”
Willing to elaborate far more is the Miami Herald’s Israel Guitterez, who calls James’ disappearing act, “the most shocking result for James in this series. In these playoffs. In his playoff history.”
For the first time in 90 playoffs games, James was held to single figures with eight points. It doesn’t matter than he added nine rebounds, seven assists and only shot the ball 11 times. All that matters is that the Heat got eight points from the most dominant basketball force on the planet and lost by three. Lost by three in a game that was in the Heat’s hands in the fourth quarter and could’ve put a stranglehold on the series.
It’s not just the first time in his playoff career that LeBron has been held below 10 points. It’s the first time in 434 NBA games, regular season and playoffs included. It’s the first time overall since Jan. 5, 2007.
If he’d done this in Cleveland, sat on the weak side watching teammates do the bulk of the lifting, he would’ve been called a quitter.