CLEVELAND, Ohio — LeBron James, superstar of the Cleveland Cavaliers, was inconsolable Sunday night following a 121-98 victory over the Chicago Bulls in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs.
The 6’ 8” small forward shot a paltry 64% from the field and 66% from the 3 point line. But most glaring was his 44% shooting effort from half court.
“Hopefully, it was just a fluke,” said teammate Jamario Moon. “He has been really consistent from half court and from the opposite baseline all season. He can’t just fall apart in the playoffs.”
After submitting an effort that included a subpar 90% free throw percentage, James made no excuses and promised that he would improve in time for Game 5.
“I think it just comes down to fundamentals. I felt comfortable making shots outside of mortal range and eventually, I stopped working on them in practice,” said James.
Perhaps most distraught by the low percentage was Cavaliers coach Mike Brown who spoke with James immediately following the decimation of the Bulls.
“It’s my fault as a coach for allowing this to happen. I began to see him and Shaquille O’Neal practicing 360 Windmill Alley Oops and then his dunking from the 3 point line. At that point, I should have said ‘Bron, quit goofing around and get back to what matters: 60 foot jumpers.”
Added Brown, who employs a LeBron-centric offense/defense, “God I hope he fixes that shot.”
Despite the lacking performance of 37 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists from James, teammates remain hopeful.
“It’s just a slump. He’ll get over it through determination. He showed up early to practice today and he’ll be emasculating other star athletes in no time,” said teammate Antawn Jamison.
“Plus, he left for a bit in the first quarter. Give the guy a break.”