Sometime in the next 10-15 years, we may remember June 19, 2012 as the night LeBron James officially shattered the myth that he's not clutch. It won't be a fair assessment, because James' ability to produce when it matters most has always been more of a nuanced discussion than most have made it out to be. But sports isn't always logical; as much as we wish it's not about narrative, it's often about narrative.
With the Heat and Thunder tied at 96 late in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the 2012 NBA Finals, James had to leave the game after suffering a painful cramp in his leg. He sat out several possessions, and the Thunder tied the game. But James, undeterred, checked back in, knowing a win would essentially seal his first championship.
This was his first field goal attempt after coming back into the game.
In any other circumstance, this is a horrible shot. With the game tied, James stood well beyond the three-point line, not running any offense and not attacking the defense. If he misses this shot, he gets crucified. Instead, it was nothing but net, and the Heat regained the lead.
I guess that's a definition of clutch in its own way. James had the stones to take the shot, even though it was a terrible shot. He made it, and the Heat haven't trailed since.
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