Friday, June 10, 2011

Where's LeBron James?? LeChoke Stumbles Upon Failure

A couple of days later and LeBron James is not escaping his disastrous meltdown with reality setting in, and no matter what this means for the Heat's experiment of building a singular trio, he can't restore optimism for Miami -- a team that face much scrutiny of late. Maybe we were so surprised to see James not bounce back from a horrific breakdown he endured in another peculiar performance, engulfed in controversy ever since his porous fall in the NBA Finals.

This was an eroded James in whom the people have blasted recently, calling him a whiny baby and a choker, deemed as a villain and an egomaniac. This was a self-centered James who was callously insensitive and dampened spirits of the gracious population in Cleveland, disowned for leaving and turning disloyal to the Cavs' faithful near his native town. This was the much-scrutinized star suffocating in another late-game crisis, with James nearly finishing scoreless in the final quarter of Game 5 and merely scoring 2 points in the fourth that resulted in a 112-103 loss on Thursday night to the Dallas Mavericks.

The worst part of it all is that James' latest mental lapses, blown shots and poor ball handling haunted the Heat and the self-proclaimed King. Then again, maybe James has finally redeemed himself to some degree, finishing with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to settle for a triple-double on the night. What we all expected, just by witnessing James as the greatest closer in these NBA playoffs, was him closing out games and validating his tarnished legacy.

If James continues to stand around looking confused and lost, the Heat won't win a championship and it would be hard to envision Miami capturing triumph without him having an impact on the series. Even after he was ripped for such an insufficient performance, he never responded or avenged his deficiencies from Game 4, where he plunged ever so miserably and lacked toughness.

It's almost contemptible to watch James these days, playing with a befuddled state of mind, playing with no firepower, no ferocity and no glaring conviction. What in God's name is happening with James? This wasn't Dallas' terrorizing defense and instead it was James looking disengaged as if he couldn't care less whether the Heat win or lose. The Heat trails the series 3-2 to the Mavs -- in James' lack of effort to attack the basket and defend tightly in the late minutes.

It was probably the biggest game of his lifetime, a defining moment in his sullied NBA career -- but even though he was a facilitator -- his teammates trusted him and James fueled the Heat players with passes -- he never was a factor in the fourth. James -- is the nation's most hated athlete with the vast majority celebrating his sudden demise in the Finals. He doesn't have a clue what is materializing, busy talking too much and have not focused on the game enough to respond with a stronger performance. It would be wise for James to shut his loudmouth and take on the role as a closer, not a berated buffoon who posts moronic comments on Twitter.

"This was probably the biggest game of my life," James said before Game 5.

What we all waited for, just by hearing his foolish nonsense after disappointing the Heat, was a breakout performance and the defining moment. And so it goes. There was never, not even at one point in the game, a defining moment for James, particularly in the end when he couldn't close it out by hitting his jumpers, or even better, storming the paint for an empathetic dunk or an easy layup. What the headlines are likely to exaggerate on, nonetheless, is clearly that James was too much of a talkative star rather than a brilliant ballplayer.

If this were a Heat team devoid of stars crumbling when it all matters, it's because of the rhetoric from Miami recently. To make matters worse, James shrunk ultimately while in desperation. When he vowed to the world that he'd answer in the biggest game of his life and was said to silence his critics, indeed he failed to back up his self-proclaimed drama and has been publicly embarrassed for the worst disaster of his NBA career.

Faster than ever -- since his surreal departure from Cleveland -- he instantly plunged from one of the global stars in the world and has been ridiculed, jeered and laughed at upon another anticlimax. And through it all, his self-inflicted prophecy meant nothing and it humiliated James again, making him look like a fool on the biggest stage of his lifetime, I presume. There'd be no reason to call him the King and worship the so-called superstar as he produces no basketball royalty.

It should come as no surprise in his emergence, even if he had a breathless postseason run and finally defeated his nemesis Boston, that incredibly he has deteriorated with his lack of heroics and continuous struggles. In recent memory, we watched James come all so close in the postseason during his seven-year stint in Cleveland, but he would disintegrate in the Eastern Conference Finals alongside the disimproved supporting cast. Maybe all he really is, of course, is someone who brought his talents to South Beach, an enemy of basketball, especially when much of the nation hates James.

But the truth is, he never stuck with his promises to bring fulfillment for the Heat and he's now criticized for it, a plague James does not handle too well. That's common nowadays of adversity he endures, incubated by James' miserable atrophy in the Finals. When he left Cleveland -- after he announced that he'll be joining the Heat in his overblown television special "The Decision," he needed months to recover and couldn't withstand the entire backlash. As a villain in sports, a battered James finally had a heavyweight postseason, all before he encountered the Mavs in the NBA Finals.

He quickly overcame the hardships last November when the Heat struggled and played passive and soft, but it took a long time until James found his stride. If he falls into a funk, he whines and blabbers frequently, to take his mind and energy away from the game. That's all the more reason he stumbles as pressure affects his ability drastically. Although he was a clutch performer earlier in the postseason, a star we become accustomed to when he was a sensational finisher and arguably the best player this postseason, all of the sudden he has lost composure and debilitated.

From an honest perspective, LeBron chokes much too often, although he's one of the league's talented stars with the knack to take over the game in the end. He was firmly in control in the final minutes of games, but as of now, he has seemed to disappear at the end-of-game situations. It's very strange, given that he sold the notion of being the finest closer for the Heat, that he looks bewildered, helpless, harmless and incapable of taunting.

If anything, James is worried and petrified, knowing the Mavs are in position to close it out in Game 6 and hoist its first ever NBA title in franchise history. How amazing to notice that James, fading in his sudden disgrace and troubles, seems like the failure who represented Cleveland. How incredible to notice that the Superteam, arguably the greatest trio in NBA history, is the flukiest and most pathetic combination in sports.

If that was the case, James was better off staying in Cleveland, not joining a pair of superstars to assemble a dysfunctional experiment which appears to be cascading. Most notably, it's not hard to laugh at James, for which he takes on several nicknames. If he has common sense, James knows the world is buzzing about his latest default in the Finals. He is surely missing in action, absent for much of the series. If the Heat is devoid of a championship and falls short of a celebration in South Beach, it would go down as LeBron's most embarrassing Finals in NBA history.

Mired in uncertainty, the King is fittingly known as LeChoke, LeBrick or LeBaby, unless he arrives and has a monster performance in Game 6 where sudden death is upon the Heat. When it comes to James, we as the critics, expect much from him simply because of his arrogant, overbearing and egomaniacal personality. The other day, Charles Barkley ripped the Heat and their fans on the Waddle and Silvy Show in Chicago.

He said,"Yeah they have the worst fans. No question. It's not even loud in there. You're at the game and you are like, 'Man this place isn't even loud.' At least when you go to Chicago, it's loud in there, it's crazy down in Dallas but it's not even loud in Miami."

He elaborated further...

"Listen, if the Miami Heat were playing the Washington Generals I would pick the Washington Generals," Barkley said with a chuckle. "It's something about that team that annoys me. They just a whiny bunch and I can't root for them."

It was all diminishing for James, from his popularity to his assurance to his admiration. The harsh reality is that he does whine more than he drills baskets. Hell, he can even be a brilliant actor, starring in a Hollywood picture for flopping and baiting the refs into poor calls. When he never heard the whistle blow on a play where he felt he was touched, he exploded in one of his infantile tantrums and acted worse than a toddler.

As a professional ballplayer, James doesn't handle his failures like a man, but instead an amateurish clown. It was almost a resemblance of his eight point stunner, the fewest points in his postseason career, in 45 minutes Tuesday night. But this time, he was a no-show in the fourth quarter, and settled for too many jump shots. This wasn't a defining moment, but a tragicomedy and it surely was an epic failure at a time he was supposed to act in response.

The measure of all-around excellence seems forgotten for a star who cannot avoid the painful blows, but James has plenty of time left for turning it around, even if some suggest that he's not ready for a radiant moment. So far, James has not convinced the basketball world that he's capable of winning a championship, or even greater, driving the Heat to triumph. Really now, James has abandoned the offense and has given Wade, who has had stellar performances in the last two games, the chance to take over the game.

It's worth noting that James is uncomfortable to measure balance in facilitating and contributing offensively, and because of it, he's missing in action. All series, James has been a non-factor and missed eight of his 11 shots in Game 4 alone, making a lone shot in the fourth quarter of Game 5. It's clear James has lost confidence within himself, evidently the other night when he scored less than 10 points for the first time in his last 434 games.

Because obviously, it's all about ego and recognition -- in truth -- he can utilize social networking and post "Now or Never," on his Twitter account early Thursday morning. It's said that James refuses to listen to criticism or allegations from the public and media outlets. Who knows? He takes much abuse and bitterness, but he doesn't play with enough heart or a fierce mindset, one that could wane all the derision. The fact he disappeared blemished the Heat, and now, it looks as if he is incapable of coming through in biggest moments. After two chaotic games, of his fourth quarter mental lapses to potentially delay the fans for bracing a South Beach parade, he bricked shots, he was baffled and he was dizzied on another planet.

Where was he?? On Pluto??

As it happened, he had another dreary fourth quarter in the Finals. And again, James was the shrinking star, despite having an irrelevant triple-double. There's a sense of belief that the Dallas Mavericks WILL close out Game 6 to win the NBA championship and jubilate in South Beach. As for the Mavs, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry pulverized the Heat and hit an avalanche of three-pointers.

It turns out that Nowitzki and Terry are the heroes of the Finals, not James if he never has an epic finish in the fourth. He was scoreless, harmless and laughable in the fourth, and it wasn't enough to vindicate talent in which he should be in command of these Finals. It could be the Mavs getting inside James' head, along with DeShawn Stevenson, who unsympathetically called him a quitter in Game 4 and Shawn Marion, who called him an abrasive name on the court.

Where is LeBron?? What, did he suddenly vanished and ventured off to LaLa Land?

The best player in basketball, built with much prodigy and craftiness is gone. Where is the King?? He is the helpless Prince, disheartened over the last two defeats. In reality, the Heat are down 2-3 in the series, and James has a shot to redeem himself and return to prominence in what could be the most theatrical story in Finals history, chronicled in one of the greatest NBA tales. James doesn't have the desire to drive to the rim and be assertive inside the paint.

His state of mind isn't there, and he has not had the touch on his jumpers, only tallying 11 points in all five fourth quarters of these Finals. Now he's bearing the criticism as Game 5 was a humiliating loss -- dropping in the fourth -- when he missed an uncontested three-pointer with the Heat trailing 102-100. And then, he was whistled for a charge on the baseline as he tried driving to the basket. The blunder surely came when he allowed Terry to beat him in a footrace on the critical three-pointer of the night.

As the spotlight shined on Terry, he backed up his trash talk directed towards James and had a brilliant night. If James is done talking and ready to play basketball in which he has created a ruckus because of his personal issues and hearsay publicly, then he could probably be more productive offensively.

I am not too sure whether or not James can accomplish the unthinkable