Game 5 of the NBA Finals certainly did not go as planned for the Los Angeles Lakers. While LeBron James had a masterful performance, the play that will be most remembered came in the final 10 seconds, when he passed the ball to Danny Green for a wide open 3-pointer.
Green came up short, adding another layer to already having been a scapegoat through much of the playoffs. Normally a consistent shooter from beyond the arc, Green is converting just 33.3% from deep and has missed many crucial shots.
Because of this, may questioned James’ decision to pass to someone who has struggled so much throughout the postseason. “I’ve always played the game the same way since I was a kid and I’ve had success doing it,” James explained.
“I won’t let a play here or a play there change my outlook on the game and how I play the game. If you just look at the play, I was able to draw two defenders below the free throw line and find one of our shooters at the top of the key for a wide-open three to win a championship. I trusted him, we trusted him, and it just didn’t go. You live with that.
“I feel, in that fourth quarter, especially down the stretch with two guys on me, Duncan Robinson and Jimmy, and Danny had a helluva look. It just didn’t go down. I know he wish he can have it again. I wish I could make a better pass. You just live with it.”
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel echoed a similar sentiment about living with that result. “He was ready to take on the whole team,” Vogel said of James.
“He had two guys on him, a third defender came and so with three guys on you, he made the right play. Danny is one of our best shooters, he had a great look, and we live with the results.”
While it is true that fans want the ball in the hands of their superstars in the final seconds of such an important game, there’s no doubt that the right play was made by James. It’s also the right person to pass to, as Green has proven himself to be a reliable shooter time and time again in the NBA, even if he’s struggled recently.
LeBron credits Jimmy Butler
Masterful as James was in Game 5, his effort was bested by Jimmy Butler, who had another triple-double to keep the Heat alive. “That’s the beauty of the game, being able to compete at the highest level,” James said.
“You take those opportunities and you live in the moment. You’re trying to make plays for your team and be successful on both ends, and we were both just trying to do that and trying to will our team to a victory. He was able to make one more play than I was able to make tonight and come away with a victory.”
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