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#pounditThursday, December 1, 2022

ESPN host Jay Williams criticizes LeBron James for passing to Danny Green

LeBron James is being criticized by some for passing to Danny Green for a shot at the end of Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on Friday night.

The Los Angeles Lakers had the ball with 16.8 seconds left down 109-108 against the Miami Heat. James drove towards the basket and attracted about three Heat defenders. He passed back to Green, who had an open look at a three. Green had to gather the ball first as the pass wasn’t perfect. He ended up missing, and Markieff Morris followed with an airball.

ESPN analyst Jay Williams, a former NBA point guard, criticized James for passing.

Many others, including Portland guard C.J. McCollum, disagreed with Williams and thought James made the right play.

Williams and James had an issue in September over another matter, which may play a role here.

After the 111-108 loss, James defended his decision to pass.

“I was able to draw two defenders below the free throw line and find one of our shooters at the top of the key wide open to win a championship. I trusted him. We trusted him. And it just didn’t go. You live with that,” James said after the game.

“It’s one of the best shots we could have gotten. Especially down the stretch. Two guys on me. Danny got a heck of a look. It just didn’t go down. I know he wishes he could have it again. I wish I could make a better pass. You live with it.”

It’s very difficult to argue that James made the wrong play when you see the open look Green had. One person doesn’t win a title; teams do. And from John Paxson to Steve Kerr, even Michael Jordan relied on his teammates to knock down big shots.

James made the right play. The shot just didn’t go down. And a better pass would have helped.

The Lakers still lead the Finals 3-2. Game 6 will be on Sunday.

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