NBA Finals 2011: Did LeBron James Redeem Himself with Triple-Double vs. Mavs?

Aaron MContributor IIIJune 10, 2011

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 09:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat stands on the court with his head down against the Dallas Mavericks in the fourth quarter of Game Five of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 9, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Ever since 2003, the word "witness" has been associated with LeBron James.

The self-proclaimed King has instructed us to become witnesses during his eight-year career. Nike has used the word in a strategic marketing campaign to put LeBron James on a pedestal.

"We are all witnesses."

We recently witnessed LeBron James produce his worst-career playoff game during Game 4 of the NBA Finals. LeBron picked his 90th-career playoff game to vanish on those he instructed to become witnesses.

He was simply non-existent on offense. While it must be said that his defense was excellent, the game will forever be associated with a nightmare for LeBron. He went three-for-11 from the floor, had eight points and, in the end, he looked fatigued, depleted and frustrated.

We witnessed.

However, it was only one game. LeBron James has had to deal with critics his entire life; he is certainly accustomed to the villain role by now.

The media pounced and LeBron remained quiet, for the most part. His disappearing act, especially in the fourth quarter, consumed his team and it was clear that the self-proclaimed King needed to answer his critics during Game 5.

The world did not forget about Game 4. The social media networks were buzzing, many comparing LeBron's mediocre night with the colossal nights of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant during previous finals.

Yet LeBron James forgot about Game 4. At 3 am on Thursday morning, he added pressure to himself by tweeting, "Now or never!!"

For LeBron, he was creating a clean slate. It was the time to step up. The past was to be left in the past and the future is irrelevant. In the pregame huddle, the king emphatically expressed that every possession mattered. He reinforced to his teammates that they needed to win, stressing the need to execute for the full 48 minutes.

The stage was set, LeBron James was going to redeem himself.

Once again, we witnessed and redemption never came.

We witnessed LeBron James put together a respectable game. He contributed 17 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds, shooting 42 percent from the field. However, respectable is not good enough—not when you're playing in the NBA Finals and surely not when you're King James.

Once again, LeBron James traded places with Harry Houdini and disappeared during the fourth quarter.

With the exception of an easy layup which the Mavericks gifted LeBron James, he was helpless during the fourth quarter. When it mattered the most, he failed to show up.

During this series, Dirk Nowitzki has outscored James 52-11 in the fourth quarter.

LeBron James has not only failed to redeem himself after the terrible nightmare that effectively was Game 4, but his team is on the brink of failure after Game 5. The world cheers and LeBron will once again attempt to wipe the slate clean.

While spectators around the world must be impressed with the intensity and level of play that has been witnessed during this NBA Finals, spectators have also witnessed King James disappear.

Time is running out.