Miami Heat Last-Second Strategy a Future Problem after Game 4 Loss to NY Knicks

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IMay 7, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat wipes his face with his jersey late in the second half against the New York Knicks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Once again an always interesting scenario arose in the Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks Game 4 showdown at Madison Square Garden: the Heat needed a last-second shot to win a game and LeBron James didn't take it.

This was a problem that reared its ugly head most memorably in March against the Utah Jazz. In that case, James was shooting 7-of-8 from the floor in the fourth quarter, but passed the ball off to an admittedly more open Udonis Haslem.

@ASU52 @MerrilHoge I would have to agree with him on that...

— Kurt Warner (@kurt13warner) May 4, 2012

But still, who would you rather have taking that shot, open or not?

While this loss was a shallow pothole on the road to the NBA Finals, it also highlighted another problem Miami could have in these playoffs. It still seems like James is not comfortable taking the big shot in the finals seconds of a game.

He can dominate the entire fourth quarter, but it's the last five to 10 seconds that's the problem.

In the game against New York, all Miami could draw up was Dwayne Wade attacking the hoop, backing off and then shooting a fade-away three-pointer.

It was bizarre to see, of course that's because he missed. Had Wade made the shot, coach Erik Spoelstra would've looked like a genius. Instead, he looked like a coach that didn't know what to do when it resulted in a loss.

James just stood on the perimeter and watched it unfold.

It left me thinking what Spo was doing with the best player on the planet in a big spot.

Not to mention, James wasn't exactly struggling and had just drove to the basket and picked up a three-point play the old-fashioned way. He was responsible for Miami's last six points.

So is it coaching that is holding LeBron back, or is it in fact James himself? Does he not want the ball for the last shot?

There's no reason why LBJ shouldn't have the ball in his hands for the most pressure-packed situation in basketball. Blowouts won't be the norm against stiffer competition later in the playoffs and the Heat have to figure out how to win big games in the closing seconds.

And that plan should start with LeBron James.