Austin Reaves was encouraged by LeBron James’ reaction to Cam Reddish missing the game-winning shot against the Heat.
LeBron James looked for the best shot in the final possession of Lakers vs. Heat, with the Heat leading by one point. Instead of driving for a layup through defenders, James gave the ball to an open Cam Reddish, who missed the shot.
Austin Reaves shared how LeBron reacted to the miss in the locker room.
“As soon as [LeBron] walked into the locker room, he went to Cam and said, ‘Nah, that’s a good shot. Situation happens like that again, we’re gonna give it right back to you and knock it down.’ That’s major, happened to me in the past with Bron.”
LeBron was driving to the rim while being guarded by Jimmy Butler, a matchup that James had done well with this game. As he drove to the basket, Bam Adebayo came over to help Butler, leaving Cam Reddish wide open in the corner. James threw the perfect pass to Reddish, but he missed the wide-open three that cost the Lakers the game.
Many fans have been critical of James’ decision to pass the ball, claiming he should’ve shot it regardless and lived with the result. This has been a complaint with James for years, but LeBron will always hunt for the best shot, whether it’s one he needs to shoot or one of the four other players on the court with him.
Austin Reaves not only appreciated LeBron for how he treated Reddish after the miss but also defended LeBron from critics who attacked him for making the right play instead of taking contested shots.
“One thing about Bron is his whole career he’s been killed for making the right play late in games instead of shooting. That’s who he is and everybody’s not loved that about him and that’s who he continues to be.”
Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and many other clutch scorers in the NBA built their reputations off taking tough shots to seal games. While many argue that James can’t be a GOAT-caliber player without taking those shots, it’s fair to say James has a deep resume of clutch shots in the regular season and the playoffs.
Even two of Michael Jordan’s championship wins were sealed by him passing the ball to Steve Kerr and John Paxson, so we need to stop acting like passing the ball for an open shot for someone else is the wrong move by LeBron.
The shot James created for Reddish is inarguably the best shot the Lakers could have taken at that moment. But is there any reasoning to say James should have taken the shot with Butler guarding him and Adebayo protecting the rim? Many would claim James should have at least attempted the shot to see if he could get fouled and finish the game with free throws.
Unfortunately for James, he hasn’t had a good time getting free throws this season. he’s averaging 5.7 free throws a game despite his drive-heavy offense, consistently getting fouled on his way to the basket. These no-calls have frustrated James, who opened up about them after the game.
“I consistently go the line 3 or 4 times a game and sometimes not even at all, which is weird.”
A shot likely would’ve been blocked by Bam or missed the target given the defensive coverage on James. It’s fair to say he made the right call by passing, it’s unfortunate that the ball went to Cam, who’s one of the weakest three-point shooters on the Lakers.