All season, the argument went that the Miami Heat couldn't get it done in crunch time. For much of the year, LeBron James was the one taking most of the shots then, and he wasn't converting. This kick-started a vocal group that suggested that while LeBron could do his thing in quarters 1-3, Dwyane Wade, and not LeBron, should be taking the last shot. I guess all of those people need to rethink their position after LeBron sunk the Boston Celtics for good with a scintillating 10-point stretch, during which he hit two threes to give Miami a six-point lead, then stole a pass and went in for a dunk to put the game away.
To make things even more interesting, LeBron's exploits came after Dwyane Wade dominated the game for Miami. If the argument above truly had much merit, then LeBron's decision to take the big shots would have backfired. But it didn't, and all those who thought that LeBron couldn't come up big in a big spot need to reevaluate their position.
The tricky thing about LeBron in crunch time is that, according to the numbers, he's fantastic. Few players shot a higher percentage in clutch situations (within five points with five minutes left) over the last few years than LeBron. Now, yes, I get that clutch is impossible to define and that it merely refers to anytime someone buries a "big shot." But even by that arbitrary scale, LeBron's Game 5 performance certainly should remove all doubt that he can hit big shots in big spots.
LeBron and the Heat may fall short somewhere further along in their NBA Playoffs journey, and these questions might come back again. It still doesn't take away what happened on Wednesday night. I'll let Dan Devine of Yahoo! Sports have the last word because he said it better than I could.
But if you can't acknowledge that he just won a pretty darned big one, with the eyes of the world and the weight of history all over him, you're either a Celtics partisan still crying in his beer, an inveterate contrarian unwilling to give credit where it's due, a dope that doesn't know what "big one" really means, or someone that didn't watch the end of Game 5.
For all five of Wednesday's 2011 NBA Playoff memes, click here.