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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

King James still searching for first NBA crown

AP

MIAMI — Good thing LeBron James had that big party when he arrived here last summer.

News photo
Agony of defeat: LeBron James couldn't get over the hump in his second trip to the NBA FInals. AP PHOTO

For now, that's the only celebration he gets in Miami.

He brought his talents to South Beach to win titles, so he'd have All-Star help around him and he wouldn't have to carry the team.

Problem was, the Heat couldn't carry LeBron.

His first finals with the Heat ended Sunday night with the Dallas Mavericks' 105-95 victory in Game 6. James started strong and faltered at the finish, just the way the Heat did in this series.

James agreed the loss felt like a "personal failure" but also said "it hurts of course, but I'm not going to hang my head low."

Miami simply couldn't overcome his poor fourth quarters in most of the series. He had only 11 points in the final periods of the first five games, a major reason the Mavericks kept finding ways to rally late in games they trailed much of the way.

He had seven in the final quarter of this one to finish with 21, but he had gone too long without impacting the game after scoring nine of Miami's first 14 points.

"Sometimes you got it, sometimes you don't, and that was this case in this series," James said.

And while they celebrated in Dallas, there was surely a big bash going on in Ohio, James' home state. Fans there were stunned and shunned when he decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the hurt turned to rage when he opted to do it in the heavily criticized TV show called "The Decision," which included the much-mocked announcement that he was taking his talents to South Beach.

And make no mistake, it's a load of talent. James just couldn't figure out how to use it in this series.

He claimed confusion over how to be most effective when superstar buddy Dwyane Wade was playing well. He said he wasn't tired from playing too many minutes, that nothing was wrong with his shot.

But something was amiss, because the two-time league MVP, largely considered the most talented player in the NBA, was at best the third-best player in this series behind Dirk Nowitzki and Wade.

The Mavericks showed no fear of James. Jason Terry wondered aloud if James, a first-team All-NBA defender, could guard him for seven games after James shut Terry out in the fourth quarters of Games 1 and 3.

Turns out, James couldn't. Terry finally broke free in the fourth quarter of the pivotal Game 5 and led the Mavs with 27 points in the clincher.



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