Trips to Texas are becoming what dreams are made of — or maybe nightmares for LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
His early struggles to win championships against the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs have been well documented, so have the team’s issues with closing out both Western Conference powerhouses during their NBA Finals battles. On Thursday, night nothing seemed to change.
Tim Duncan dominated the middle with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while the Spurs packed the paint and forced James to shoot jump shots that he seemed nervous to put up. If you take away the mask and the Tour de France-tight Noche Latina jerseys, you would have thought that you were watching a flashback of the three finals games that the Heat dropped in San Antonio.
Interestingly enough though, smug uniform sleeves were talked about more than the defending champs’ nonexistent defense. “I’m not making excuses,” James said via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I’m not a big fan of the jerseys … I already don’t have much room for error on my jumpers.”
Although LeBron is 3-for-29 outside of the paint (in sleeves) it seems more like a case of him shooting all of his bullets in the 61-point game versus the Charlotte Bobcats because he followed that performance by going 1-for-19 on jumpers against the Houston Rockets and Spurs.
Dwyane Wade put it best when he said, “let’s not make this about a jersey … We got our butts kicked. That’s it.” That they did — for two matchups in a row in games where they never even had a lead — sleeves or not.