LeBron James on 2011 NBA Finals Loss to Mavs: 'That S--t Burns Me to This Day'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2020

Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki tries to drive past Miami Heat's LeBron James during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA Finals basketball game Thursday, June 9, 2011, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

LeBron James knows what it's like to blow an NBA Finals game as a member of the Miami Heat. Because of that, he wasn't about to blow one against the Heat as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.  

"That s--t burns me to this day," James said of Miami blowing a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, per Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register.

He explained that loss sticks with him when he is trying to protect leads even now as a three-time champion looking for his fourth ring, which surely helped in Wednesday's contest. The Lakers handled the Heat with relative ease in a 116-98 victory, and James remained in the game well into the fourth quarter on his way to 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

Miami jumped out to a quick lead in Game 1 with a 23-10 advantage, but the Lakers wasted no time battling back and took the lead before the first quarter ended.

They didn't look back from there and sent a resounding message to the Eastern Conference challengers.

James mentioning the 2011 Finals is notable for more than the fact he was on the Heat and is currently playing against them. That series, which Dallas won in six games, is one of the only flaws on his illustrious resume.

He averaged just 17.8 points on 32.1 percent shooting from three-point range in the series and scored a grand total of eight points in Game 4. He was far more passive than he has been in seemingly every other big moment of his career, and plenty of critics jumped on him at the time as he failed to win what would have been his first championship.

Since then, James has firmly established himself as one of the all-time greats and is now just three wins away from a fourth ring.

Don't look for him to let off the gas until the series is over, either.