|King James not NBA royalty yet|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 14 June 2007 18:05|
LeBron James stumbled, not soared, through his first NBA finals, which ended in a sweep with Cleveland's 83-82 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night in Game 4.
James had 24 points and 10 assists, but shot just 10-of-30 from the field and had some costly miscues in the fourth quarter.
Perhaps James was tired Thursday after getting less sleep than usual. He was at the hospital when his girlfriend, Savannah Brinson, gave birth to the couple's second son, Bryce Maximus James, early Thursday morning.
So June 14 will always be a memorable day for James. The rest of these finals were one to forget.
James shot 36 percent in the series, often struggling to find good looks against the tough defense of Bruce Bowen.
Still, he seemed on the verge of taking over Game 4, making consecutive baskets to give the Cavs a 61-60 lead midway through the final quarter - their first lead in the second half in the series. But then quickly, potential victory slipped right through his hands.
He turned it over with Cleveland down six with under 2 1/2 minutes remaining, and allowed a rebound to glance off his hands out of bounds after his 3-pointer had cut it to five with under 2 minutes to go.
He was even unlucky - a San Antonio pass with 2 seconds remaining on the shot clock hit off his foot, giving the Spurs an additional 12 seconds. The Spurs ended up getting Fabricio Oberto's three-point play, pushing their lead to six.
James tried to lead a late rally, hitting a 3-pointer that made it a two-point game in the final seconds. But the Cavs took too long to foul, and he never had another chance to win or tie it.
James looked ready to do something special in the finals after his dominant showing in the last four games of the Eastern Conference finals. His 48-point performance in Game 5, when he scored 29 of Cleveland's final 30 points in a double-overtime victory over Detroit, was one of the most spectacular individual performances in NBA history.
But he never had chance to make that kind of mark on the finals. His poor first-half performances in Games 1 and 2 contributed to Cleveland's poor starts, and the Cavs were never really in either game in the second half.
Game 3 was close, but James was unable to take over and turn around the series the way his buddy, Dwyane Wade, did last year for Miami. He had consecutive shots rattle out with the Cavs trailing by four, and later didn't get a whistle when he appeared to draw contact while trying to get off a potential game-tying 3-pointer.
With their superstar struggling, the Cavaliers never got going. They had the worst offensive showing ever in the finals, scoring just 322 points. That wasn't even close to the previous record, Baltimore's 376 points in the 1971 finals against Milwaukee.
But James, in the playoffs for only the second time and just completing his fourth season, at least got something out of the finals, even if it wasn't jewelry.
``Going through this experience, just like going through the experience last year, is irreplaceable,'' coach Mike Brown said before the game. ``Not only for him, but I can feel it for myself and I'm sure for the rest of the guys in the locker room. This has been a great experience, and we're looking forward to it lasting a lot longer.''