LeBron James – Yes to Triple Double, no to Clutch

Yes, it can begin. LeBron James, for the first time this season, missed not one but two potentially game winning shots, which made his first triple double in 2012-2013 look that much more redundant  as the Miami Heat left Washington scratching their heads as to how exactly they lost to the Washington Wizards.

Without Shane Battier in the lineup, the Heat looked lazy (no way to get around it) while defending, especially in the first half when they gave up 60 points. Mario Chalmers didn’t play in the fourth quarter as well, and somehow, for the third consecutive time, the Washington Wizards, a team that began the season 0-12, still without John Wall, beat the Miami Heat 105-101.

Sometimes, a loss is just a loss, according to Lebron James: … There’s no lesson. This ain’t a lesson for us. We just lost. We’ve seen and been through everything, so we don’t need a loss to be like, ‘Oh, let’s catch ourselves.’ It happens. 

Dwyane Wade was feeling the same way: You move on. You learn from it, but you don’t become a good team by holding onto certain losses, or certain wins.

James finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists; the last time he had a triple double was on the final game of the postseason, the clincher against the Oklahoma City Thunder, recording 26 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. Pretty similar. What was more important at the end of the game were his numbers with the game on the line.

Up to this point, Ray Allen was the one who took care of business at the end. On a bad night for Allen (4-12 from the field, 3-9 from beyond the arc), it seems the last two plays were drawn up for LeBron. On the other hand, there was nothing to suggest any kind of order and drawn up plays in the way the Miami Heat played, so there’s a good chance it was just improvizing. James missed two three pointers, pretty open on both of them, that would have given the Miami Heat the lead.

He is now 3-13 on game-tying or go-ahead field goals with under 24 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter or overtime. Ray Allen is 3-3 this season. Over the last 3 seasons, the league average on such shots is 27.6%.

This was a special effort by the Wizards, who were simply tired of losing. Three players on the Miami Heat who are important contributors – Rashard Lewis, Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem finished with 0 points. On the other side of the court, the Wizards had 64 points from their bench, including Jordan Crawford scoring 22. No big star, but for one rare night, they actually played like a team and not a bunch of players that just happen to be on the same team.

One loss after six consecutive wins doesn’t mean anything. We still saw the same problems the Heat have been showcasing all season: Slow rotation on defense, especially from Wade and Allen, and the absence of Battier and Chalmers for much of the game didn’t help. But it’s nothing new, and it doesn’t seem to be anything the Heat are worried about. We’ll know much more after they face the New York Knicks on Thursday night, in the comforts of their home arena, where they still haven’t lost this season.

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