Right Field

LeBron: A Half-Hearted Defense

Some of the commentary on LeBron James’s loss in the NBA finals last night strikes me as a bit harsh — though understandable, given the “Decision” and his and Miami’s oppressive arrogance. 

Still: Lebron decimated everyone, including my Celtics, in the run up to the finals. He was just terrifying — impossibly energetic in the fourth quarter, driving past everyone, hitting threes, playing relentless defense. It was the best basketball I have seen him play, maybe anyone play.

I think Miami’s weaknesses returned in the finals. Miami needs a legitimate veteran point guard to make the key decisions down the stretch (including getting Lebron the ball and encouraging him to shoot). The fourth quarter turnovers and indecision late in games — a problem that had plagued Miami earlier in the season — just killed them. Heat point guard Mike Bibby was so bad Miami simply benched him for game six, opting for Chalmers — a shooting guard, really — at the point, and even bringing in Eddie House for some minutes.  

Dallas has a hall-of-fame point guard, as well as an all-defensive-team center clogging up the middle. By the end, the Heat were playing Udonis Haslem — a 6′8″ forward — at center most of the time.

So pinning all the blame on Lebron may be satisfying, but it’s not particularly fair.

That said, for me the series was a “resentment win/win,” as my wife Amy put it: Since I hate both teams about equally, each game produced a satisfying loss.

Brian C. Anderson — Mr. Anderson is editor of City Journal and author of Democratic Capitalism and Its Discontents, South Park Conservatives, and other books.