It seems incredible to make such a headline for a player who came close to a triple double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. Yet Game 2 of LeBron James against Denver in the Conference Finals prompts this question.
Not because of the absolute numbers, always extraordinary for anyone, let alone a 38-year-old, but because of some unusual mistakes. LeBron, in fact, made at least three free mistakes and in general he did not seem to be the usual infallible machine in the decisive moments of the match.
In the second quarter he missed a layup, in the last quarter two even heavier “eaten” baskets. The first is the dunk attempt on a counterattack that went viral on his hater’s social message boards, the second being a fairly simple underhand that would have brought the Lakers to 2- with 26″ to go.
Then there is the figure of the three-point shot, a fundamental that historically is the litmus test of James’ personal difficulties. So far the Playoffs figure is an unenviable 23% with 0/6 in Game 2 and 0/4 in the first act of the series with the Nuggets. In the closing periods of this postseason LeBron has not scored from the arc since Game 2 with Memphis and has an open streak of 19 consecutive errors.
Are no baskets from long distance and unusual mistakes in the basket in the final fractions signs of advancing fatigue? That would be physiological for anyone, but we’ll see if in the coming events, on the friendly floor of Los Angeles, LeBron can reverse the trend.