Last night, the Los Angeles Lakers lost a heartbreaking game to the Miami Heat, 111-108. The game came down to the wire, with Lakers fans across the world devastated as the team was one win away from the franchise’s 17th championship. Jimmy Butler, once again, dismantling the Lakers with another triple-double ending with 35 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. Butler made all of his four free-throw attempts under a minute left in the game, resulting in the Lakers having the ball with 16.8 seconds left down 109-108. Chaos would ensue on the play, as LeBron James passed out of being triple-teamed to a WIDE open Danny Green. He hit the front of the rim, Markieff Morris corralled the offensive rebound in the mid-range, panicked, and turned the ball over with a horrible entry pass into Davis in the paint.
Many are fairly upset with Morris’ turnover, but people are also upset about Green missing the big shot. Although he had a pretty good performance all game, Lakers fans have been very hard on him all playoffs for his sub-par performance. The performance, of course, doesn’t look any better when looking at Green’s $15 million per year contract as well as his long history of being a very clutch playoffs shooter. Still, LeBron defended Green after the game, saying the following (reported by Kyle Goon of the OC Register):
“It’s one of the best shots we could’ve gotten. Danny had a hell of a look. I know he wish he could have it again, I wish I could make a better pass. You just live with it.”
Many people — in what is one of the most predictable spins you could expect in this sitaution — argued that LeBron should have enacted the “killer instinct” of Michael Jordan and shot the ball while guarded by three, possibly four Heat defenders. I don’t know if I need to say it, but that’s stupid and here is LeBron’s response to that type of rhetoric (reported by Mark Medina of USA Today).
LeBron James: "I've always played the game the same way since I was a kid and I had success doing it. I won't let a play here or a play there change my outlook on the game or how I play the game."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 10, 2020
Head coach Frank Vogel also echoed LeBron’s sentiment of living with the shot.
Frank Vogel defended LeBron's pass to Danny Green at the end because he had three guys on him.
"He got a great look, and we'll live with the result."
— Finals Faigen (@hmfaigen) October 10, 2020
Everyone would have forgotten all of Danny Green’s shooting woes if he made the shot, as the Lakers would have had their best chance all game at securing the win if he did. Still, that’s what happens in the NBA. Some shots just don’t hit their mark at the end of games. The Lakers can only control the quality of the shot, with the quality of that shot possibly being the best the Lakers could have received at that moment. People should probably focus more on the defensive lapses that the Lakers had all game that resulted in many of Duncan Robinson’s seven threes. In regards to the final play, fans would probably be better suited to be upset with Markieff Morris, who carelessly turned the ball over on the offensive rebound with two seconds left.
Either way, don’t try and say LeBron made the wrong decision there.