Scottie Pippen doesn’t like the ‘LeBron James is tired’ argument
Prior to Game 4 on Friday night, Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen during an appearance on ESPN’ NBA The Jump voiced his displeasure with the conversation around James being tired late in games as an argument for his play tailing off the fourth quarter.
“Yes, LeBron is tired, but he has to find a way to get himself going late in the game because his team is not able to score late in games unless he plays that dominant role…LeBron has been in the game and be a facilitator. Not try to drive and beat them from 30 feet out in the fourth quarter. He has to go get on the block or get at the high post as we seen Dirk do in a series and force them to go double team.
“He is putting himself in a drive situation, out of control, and he’s not looking to score. And that’s what they need him to do.”
Pippen, like many others who hold this stance, believes that James has to be a major factor late in the games. However, the counter-argument to that is that the four-time league MVP hasn’t truly had a break in the series in any games.
James has tallied major minutes in each game averaging 41.5 minutes per game while recording at least 40 minutes in each contest with the only one falling short of that mark was at 39. It isn’t the workload per say, but how the team plays when he’s off of it. Keep in mind that through four games, he’s averaging a triple-double with 31.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 10.5 assists per game.
If he’s isn’t on the court, the Cavaliers’ play suffers in a major way giving him little time to rest. In fact, Game 4 was the first time that he took a little bit of step back with the help of the rest of the team shooting 52.9 percent from the field and drilling an NBA Finals record 24 three-pointers.
With James still being the best player in the league, it has also brought forth this often times unrealistic standards for him to bare and sometimes unfair criticism. It simply all comes with the territory of being the top player in the league. If the Cavaliers fall short against the Warriors, James will once again receive the brunt of the blame regardless of how great he plays individually or how much of the workload he shoulders.