Kevin Durant defends LeBron James for passing up final shot against Jazz
Believe it or not, the latest criticism of LeBron James has centered around his unselfishness. With the ball in his hands and the Eastern Conference trailing by a basket during the final seconds of the All-Star game, LeBron chose to pass to teammate Dwyane Wade rather than take the last shot with Kobe Bryant defending him. Against the Jazz last weekend in the same situation, he again opted to pass it to an open Udonis Haslem instead of trying to hit the game-winner.
James was well-covered on the play, but he was on fire and had scored 17 points in the fourth quarter alone. Kobe would have taken the shot with three defenders on him, and some will argue that it’s that winner’s mentality that separates him from LeBron. Kevin Durant would disagree.
“I saw that play,” Durant told NBA.com when asked about the play against the Jazz. “Udonis Haslem was wide open for a jumper that he usually makes. You know what? I’d make the same play. It was the right play. I’d have done the same thing. I can’t believe it was even an issue.”
In the All-Star Game, LeBron should have taken the shot. It’s an exhibition game and any time you have the two best players in the game going against each other you capitalize on the opportunity to create a memorable moment. Against the Jazz, I think LeBron made the right choice. Red hot or ice cold, he did not have a good look at the basket. As Durant said, Haslem was wide open. There are plenty of things to criticize James for. Passing the ball to a wide open teammate shouldn’t be one of them.