5 Reasons LeBron James' Clutch Performance Is No Longer an Issue

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5 Reasons LeBron James' Clutch Performance Is No Longer an Issue
George Frey/Getty Images
LeBron James gets another shot in Utah tonight.

LeBron James certainly could have—and perhaps should have—left it alone. 

It was late in the March 2, 2012 night, in the cool Salt Lake City air, and the noise was deafening. 

James had just explained, quite logically why, at the conclusion of a virtuoso performance, he had passed on a shot just before the buzzer, seeing the double-team coming and sending a perfect back-handed bounce pass to a remarkably open Udonis Haslem. 

Haslem had shot a wayward jumper.

The Heat had lost.

The Twitterverse had stirred.

After all, this came during the same week that James, after rampaging the East All-Star team back into range, had passed on a last-second attempt, instead committing a turnover in Dwyane Wade's general direction. 

At his locker, James said something similar to what he had always said when the critics chirped about his late-game decisions, that "I was just trying to make the right plays and do what it takes to win games," and that he believed Haslem had the better look. 

That all sounded reasonable enough but, then, after boarding the bus headed for the airport, James tweeted this: 

“Man I have a sick feeling in my stomach right now! Really wanted tonight's game. I just had to make one more dang play out there.”

And, finally: “A stop, rebound, a shot, assist, a block, whatever it took. I fell short again!”

More than 10 months after that unnecessary appeasement of his critics, James has returned to Utah, to play the Jazz again on Monday night.

And much has changed.

(All quotes for this piece were collected as a result of the author's daily coverage of the Miami Heat for the Palm Beach Post. All statistics were accurate as of Sunday afternoon.) 

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