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Shook Ankles: Lost In Finals Disappointment

Another warm Thursday evening in June, another gem from the NBA Finals. Between Barea’s reemergance, Wade’s overdo physical ailment, Dirk’s consistent kerplunking of long range jumpers, LeBron’s least appreciatd triple double in basketaball history, and Terry’s entrance into a whole new stratospheric level of clutch, a REALLY great basketball game existed.

Before we dive deep into one of Game 5′s most important plays, let’s first observe it analytically. As Sebastian Pruiti over at NBA Playbook points out—the clip above is from his site—the offensive foul on LeBron James was in fact the correct call, so what does this mean exactly if you’re Wade? (Not to overstate the play’s importance, even though it did come at a crucial juncture, but doesn’t this five second sequence kind of encapsulate the entire Finals up to this point?) Leading the way, Wade makes an unbelievable move, draws two defenders up on him and dishes to LeBron who uncharacteristically turns it over. Both in this play and throughout the entire series, LeBron’s failure has overshadowed Wade’s greatness.

Nobody will remember that Wade lifted Shawn Marion from his socks because drawn charges aren’t replayed 10 years later when they occur with over two minutes left in a game that remains in the balance. LeBron proved incapable of converting on the play so it will eventually get lost in the shuffle, and that’s a tragic thing. The move’s so instantaneous—just like the charge—but what does it mean? When you’re comparing talent so great, a single play can not prove one player to be better than another. However, what it can do is give us evidence as to one’s mental makeup. No, LeBron isn’t mentally weaker than Wade because he bowled into Tyson Chandler at the wrong moment, but aren’t their roles supposed to be reversed in that instance? Isn’t LeBron the playmaker and Dwyane the one who scores at the rim? Maybe Wade didn’t feel comfortable absorbing contact from the baseline because  of his hip. Maybe he didn’t trust LeBron enough to make the crucial play? I’m not buying that last reason as a possibility, but regardless of the result, if presented with the same situation on Sunday night do they both make the same decision? In the words of Mr. Wade, “Time will tell”.

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