LeBron James earned some major praise from opponent George Hill on a night when he uncharacteristically blew two plays at the end of a playoff game.
James turned the ball over in back-to-back possessions to end the Miami Heat’s 97-93 loss to the Indiana Pacers. On both plays, he threw passes that were snagged by Indiana’s defense. After the game, Hill was asked how the Pacers were able to defend James in those situations, especially after LeBron burned them twice in a row at the end of Game 1.
“George, is there any player in the world more dangerous with the ball in that situation, facing the floor, looking at the defense, than LeBron James? And how do you guys pick him off not once but twice in that situation?” a reporter asked him.
Hill responded by comparing James to God.
“Yeah, it’s only like one person that’s like more scarier than that, and that’s God,” said Hill. “I’m sure if we’re looking at him in the face we’d be very nervous. I’m sure he could make all the plays that we want people to make.
“But LeBron’s a great player. He’s the MVP for a reason. He’s one of the best that ever played this game. He’s a big focal point, and we know that when he’s up there probing the floor and looking at everything, that we can’t just focus on him. We have to focus on the people around him because he’s a great playmaker. He has our full attention.”
When asked about Hill’s remarks, King James said he was far from being a deity.
“I’m nowhere near close,” James said in response, per SI’s The Point Forward. “I made two mistakes tonight that hurt our team. That hurt more than anything, to let my teammates down. They expect me to make plays down the stretch. I had the ball with the opportunity to make a couple of plays and I came up short. That burns, but the best thing about it is that this isn’t college. It’s not one loss and you’re done. I’ll have another opportunity to get better in Game 3.”
James was extremely disappointed with himself for committing the turnovers. ESPN said it was the first time he turned the ball over twice in the final minute of a playoff game in his career.
“Me turning the ball over, no matter what point in the game, but especially like tonight with us down two in a one-possession game, those hurt more than anything. More than missing a free throw, more than missing a shot, more than anything.”
The series is now tied 1-1 and the Pacers look like a legitimate threat to reach the NBA Finals. James can’t afford to have another turnover-filled finish if the Heat want to win the series.
Video via Eye on BasketballGoogle+