LeBron James goes cold again, Charles Barkley takes a shot

LeBron James has struggled in the last two games, making only 10 of 32 shots. (AP photo)

Cleveland's LeBron James has struggled in the last two games, making only 10 of 32 shots. (AP photo)

The Cleveland Cavaliers have regressed. Should we think less of LeBron James?

James may have just played his final home game as a member of the Cavaliers. As the prize catch in this summer’s NBA free agency class, we figured this day would come – just not this early. But after being dumped at home by Boston by 32 points, 120-88, Tuesday night, the Cavs are down 3-2 in the second round and one game from playoff elimination.

James? He didn’t hit a basket in the first half. He was 3 for 14 in the game. He finished with 15 points, nine of those coming on free throws.

In the last two games, James is only 10 for 32 from the floor, and his name isn’t even Joe Johnson. He’s missing jump shots and he’s not attacking the basket. We can’t know how much of this is because of the elbow he injured in the Chicago series, but he wasn’t this off   in the first three games of the series.

The Celtics have played excellent defense. But this is LeBron James. If Cleveland goes down to Boston in a series it was expected to win — after losing to Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals last season — James’ reputation will take a hit.

Actually, it already has.

“I’ve got to wonder about LeBron James’ mindset,” Charles Barkley said on TNT’s post-game show. “Remember how he played in Game 3 – attack, attack, attack? This [should’ve been] an attack game. … I’m 100 percent disappointed, not by the fact he didn’t have a good game but because of his mentality. Tonight was the biggest game of the season, and I didn’t see the aggression I needed from an MVP at all.”

James didn’t make excuses: “I just missed a lot of shots,” he said.

He’ll still get a max contract this summer. He’ll still own half of Nike and possibly all of Manhattan next season if he signs with the New York Knicks.

But if the Cavs get bounced in the playoffs again, does James’ rep take a hit?

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105 comments Add your comment


May 11th, 2010
11:59 pm

Err, hellz yeah. I’m curious how people can say he’s the “World’s Greatest” when Dwayne Wade is far more dynamic, plays with a much-worse supporting cast, and single-handedly won a World Championship.

Please explain this to me!


May 11th, 2010
11:59 pm

The “LeBronze” nickname appears that it will become even more fashionable in a couple of more days…


May 12th, 2010
12:09 am

Daniel, Wade didn’t win a championship single-handedly. Shaq wasn’t at his peak then, but he was still averaging 20+ points and 10 boards and he had some huge playoff games when the Heat needed them most. Outside of those two guys, I agree that there were an awful lot of marginal NBA players. Epic choke by the Mavs in the finals that year.

Whopper Dawg

May 12th, 2010
12:14 am

I think it does, it won’t effect the money he will get or the number of teams that will come wooing, but if they go down to an “old” Celtic team 4 -2, then some of the luster goes off.

The guy is a great basketball player and has a great team attitude, but I think the title of King was bestowed a little too soon. At least win one ring first, at least one.

He has to be careful that he lands in the right spot too. Look at the playoffs, sweeps in the conference semis. You land in the wrong spot and it may be a while before he gets back.

Bob Haver

May 12th, 2010
12:15 am

It’s obvious he(LeBron) threw the game to insure the Cavs lose the series & that he’ll be traded to New York. No doubt, anymore. I hate to say this (the throwing of a game), but there is no reason why he had such a bad outing at such a crucial time.

Ted Striker

May 12th, 2010
12:23 am

Bob Haver — Seriously? Traded? Let me get you an ammonia capsule so you can wake up.

Jeff — I like a lot of things about LeBron. But one of the intangibles that has zero to do with the way he plays is how he refuses to make excuses when he has a bad night on the court.


May 12th, 2010
12:25 am

Does anyone care about the NBA? The product has declined to the point of irrelevance, like NASCAR and Indy. The players are punks, the action is dull and tiresome.



May 12th, 2010
12:25 am

First we might ask: has Mike Brown ever looked like he knows what he’s doing? But yeah, LBJ appears to lack a killer instinct, no doubt about it.


May 12th, 2010
12:26 am

“It’s obvious he(LeBron) threw the game to insure the Cavs lose the series & that he’ll be traded to New York.”

Um, he doesn’t need to be traded to NY, genius. He’s a free agent after the season.

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Dr. Warren

May 12th, 2010
12:36 am

The Celtics are the same team the Hawks swept during the regular season???


May 12th, 2010
12:41 am

LeBron’s rep isn’t taking that big of a hit, regardless. There isn’t a GM or a basketball fan anywhere in the world who wouldn’t give his left, um, ear to have LeBron play for their team.


May 12th, 2010
12:54 am

You guys have the nerve 2 disect the Hawks yet Cleveland is a bigger bust. I’ve been saying for years that Woodson & Brown couldn’t coach their way out of a city league. That being said Cleveland & Atlanta front offices need 2 be changed or fired, after all these are same people who put these guys in place. The Hawks & Cavs didn’t reach this low point alone. These teams both are an example of no fundementals, no grit, 2000s iso basketball is it just me or is everybody on these teams standing watching the game like we are at home. Waiting on someone else to dive or make a play, were was Shaq in the huddle in the team’s ears. You are actually watching what has become common place in all sports, guys recognize 2 letters out of the word Team the M & the E. You cannot tell that the Celtics are more talented than Cavs and I still say we would not have crashed & burned like we did against the Magic playing the Celts. What you are seeing is the Heart, Leadership, & Determination that is the reason trophies get lifted every season. And same reason some citys have never raised any. Don’t get me wrong the Cavs can still salvage a ray of hope,but it should not be this bad when your defending your backyard for either of these teams. Alot of these guys talk about coming from the “Hood” well I’m old school I never saw other come people in my “Hood” & put old-fashioned butt whippings like whats being laid on these guys! What a shame 2 be so talented & to not represent oneself ,after 82 hard fought games, if you don’t have that Fire & Desire by the time the playoffs arrive you are doomed.


May 12th, 2010
12:57 am

And we thought the Hawks had issues! When you think about it, quite a few teams made/ will make ugly exits from the 2010 Playoffs (Dallas, Denver, Atlanta, San Antonio, AND PERHAPS NOW CLEVELAND. And with thwe exception of San Antonio, each team shares a common issue: the max salary player’s subpar performance and BAD BAD BAD COACHING!!

Sir Charles . . .

May 12th, 2010
1:10 am

mentioned tonight that the Cavs offense (Isolation b-ball) was similar to the Hawks, except the Cavs have a talented bench. I’m guessing Cleveland fans love it when the Cavs are compared to the Atlanta Hawks.


May 12th, 2010
1:22 am

Not a Lebron fan, but would someone explain to me why I should care what Charles Barkley thinks? He’s a joke that never won anything (except when he was surrounded by Jordan, Bird, etc.). I can’t even figure out why anyone thinks that he’s funny. He’s really not.

Bob in SF

May 12th, 2010
1:23 am

King James’ rep will take a hit if they get run out of this series but he still gets max money from someone and keeps all of his endorsement deals. Anyway, it will all be forgiven after the playoffs when he comes clean about how hurt he was and the Cavs back it up hoping desperately to keep him in town.


May 12th, 2010
1:32 am

Billy … not many hall of famers won when MJ was around.

The thing with Lebron is that despite how scary good he is, he’s still quite one dimensional. Inconsistent jumper. Little to no post up game. Doesn’t use screens very well and doesn’t move without the ball effectively. So it’s not as easy for him to dominate.


May 12th, 2010
1:46 am

Charles Barkley also picked Cleveland to win it all and said Kobe was getting old. Yet Kobe is playing better than Lebron, better than anyone left in the playoffs, his team swept their opponent, and while Cleveland is on brink of Elimination. Him not winning even 1 ring and all of the above shows you how stupid he is.

Reid Adair

May 12th, 2010
1:48 am

I was impressed with LeBron James’ post-game comments – when he was asked about Cleveland fans booing. James said, they deserved to boo.

Just another example of the difference between first-tier NBA superstars like James and lower ones like Joe Johnson.


May 12th, 2010
1:50 am

GOOD COACHING IS PREVAILING THIS YEAR!! AND NONE OF THE REMAINING TEAMS HAVE A 20-SOMETHING (age)First Team ALL-NBAer! Think of how Coach Bryan… I mean Jackson has inspired this slow Laker team (worth one chuckle, I hope!).


May 12th, 2010
1:50 am

As for Lebron why are you all acting surprised? He eventually always chokes especially in the 4th quarters of playoff games. Like the writer said I am not surprised he choked and went cold. The only thing Im surprised of is how soon he choked. List of times Lebron choked.

2007 NBA Finals (Really choked)
2008 Eastern Conference Finals
2009 In 5 of the 6 4th quarters of the Eastern Conference Finals
2010 Second Round vs Celtics.?


May 12th, 2010
1:55 am

Ok lets be honest about this. LeBron is the best player in the league. No question. It doesn’t help when you have a coach that is so out of his league at this point in the season that its beyond embarassing. Also, you don’t have a #2 who can take over a game when the star is struggling ala Pippen for Jordan, Shaq in his prime for kobe/d-wade, gasol/odom for kobe, no one on this team can get their own shot on a consistant basis and anyone who thinks differently is a fool. I am a Cavs fan and have watched so many more games than anyone on here and were just built for the regular season and not the playoffs. One guy can’t do it all. LeBron had an off game as all superstars do but it gets magnified b/c everyone else is so mediocre on his team that they can’t win unless he gets atleast 30+ pts. 7+ reb. and 7+ assist. Just look at his lines for these playoffs. Its a one man show and for the sake of Bron I hope he goes to Chicago where he finds some people who can take over games (Rose) without him and can pick the coach of his choice!

Lebron to ATL

May 12th, 2010
2:03 am

Lebron to Atlanta—I like the sound! He would light the city up—the Hawks would be nba title contenders right away. But the morons that own and run the team don’t have a clue, and will probably end up giving more millions to the sorry losers on the roster now.


May 12th, 2010
2:30 am

Queen James .. Aka Brickcity… has been over hyped since he came into the league!
Im glad the Celtics are winning, i just hope they can beat Orlando in the next round!
Go SUNS, Go Celtics!!

so and so

May 12th, 2010
2:58 am

Looks like LeQueen needs even more help from his Illuminati brothers. I can’t stand LeQueen. Can I get a witness girls?


May 12th, 2010
3:10 am

Wait. He didn’t make excuses?

“I spoil a lot of people with my play. When you have 3 bad games in a 7-year career, it is easy to point that out.”



May 12th, 2010
3:28 am

fancydawg, Is Dwight Howard not a 20 something All First Team Nba player? And the last time I checked Orlando is still in the playoffs.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 12th, 2010
4:03 am

LeBron has already had plenty of occasions, playoffs and regular season, when he’s proven he can take over a game and will his team to victory against any defense. He hasn’t won a championship yet, but Jordan took 8 years to win a title himself.

All tonight’s game proved is that no matter how good your star is, a good defense will always beat an unimaginative isolation offense. We Hawks fans already witnessed this over the last four games of the Hawks’ season.

Those of you who want to continue hating on Joe Johnson for whatever reason, you are entitled to your opinion, but don’t blame him for the ball hogging, stagnant nature of the Hawks’ offense. That is entirely on Woodson, just like the stagnant nature of the Cavs’ offense is entirely on Mike Brown.


May 12th, 2010
4:09 am

Greg, I suppose he was against the Hawks. He sure wasn’t all-NBA against the Bobs. One thing for sure: Howard and CSVG better step up their game even more if they want the title! Boston, LA (the teams most likely standing between the Magic and the title)are far better coached teams than the Hawks.

mo neely

May 12th, 2010
4:53 am

Billy: Charles said he was misquoted in his autobiography! Laugh at him, not with him.
W. Dog:Celtics “OLD”? Do you mean age? Or that the Celtics are one of the winningest, revered and oldest organizations in NBA history? I hope you mean the latter. And I agree that “KING” was premature, even with talent like his.
Bob: I don’t think LJ to be one to throw any game. Wants to be a champion, even if he has to do it himself.
ReddJonn68: There’s no I in team, but there’s 2 in IDIOT!
Cole; Great examples. I’d like to point out the Celt’s depth is considerable. A one-two punch is tough to take, so what about 3 star players. We have KG, Pierce and Allen. They don’t all need to be THE MAN every game. The share the responsibility. Heck! Let’s add Rondo. He passes so well, he should’ve played for the Bruins Monday! The couldn’t pass the SALT that night.
BravesFan79: Tea Party, Harvard, Fenway…vs…Disneyworld. No brainer!!! Celts in 5!


May 12th, 2010
6:25 am

Gotta give a lot of credit to Boston – they’ve stepped up their game at exactly the right time of the year. And I’m sure LBJ is a nice enough person but he’s da** sure hard to cheer for as a player.


May 12th, 2010
7:00 am

LeBron has to be hurt much worse than he is publicly acknowledging. That said, he’s been annointed the “greatest ever” by the national media and has never won anything of significance since he came to the NBA. So why are we surprised that Cleveland is down to the Celtics and facing elimination? Boston is playing outstanding team basketball on both ends of the floor! Something the Cavs haven’t figured out and neither have the Hawks!


May 12th, 2010
7:26 am

LBJ on LBJ: “I’m not an excuse guy,” James said. “The fact that I spoil a lot of people with my play, you have a bad game here or there, you have three bad games in a seven-year career, it’s easy to point that out.”

Those quotes would be passable in game 82 against the Nets … but game 5 against the Cs???

Fannie Mae

May 12th, 2010
7:28 am

A good NBA team loses by 32 at home!!! The star scores 15 points on 3 for 14 shooting!!! See, it doesn’t just happen to the Hawks…

mike n

May 12th, 2010
7:31 am

Jamison was supposed to give Lebron a second option. He basically hasn’t shown up at all. And I don’t think Shaq is really working out, yeah he had 21 last night, but I don’t think he fits in. Still, it’s Lebron’s job to make sure his team doesn’t lose by 30 points at home. Looked like he didn’t care.

Freddie Mac

May 12th, 2010
7:33 am

Just further proof that well-coached team will beat a poorly-coached team in a playoff series most of the time.

Right Woody?

El Bravo

May 12th, 2010
7:36 am

Lebron’s rep will not take a hit. It will be attributed to his injury. The man has been as clutch as they come before, both during the regular season and the playoffs. Even if the Cavs go down to the Celts there will be about 57 GMs tomorrow (every GM in the NBA and a few in Europe) begging for his services…

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: Charles Barkley takes some shots at LeBron James (and he's on target). http://bit.ly/dm8V5r [...]

Big Ray

May 12th, 2010
8:06 am


May 12th, 2010
8:14 am

Yes his rep with players will take a hit , fans of whichever team he might go too will not care and Cav fans will never complain because they are scared he will leave. If he really cares about a championship who do you see him going to ?

In Your Dreams

May 12th, 2010
8:28 am

It all reminds me of that magical evening in November 2008. What more need be said: 45-42.

The Greatest Game Ever Played.

Kansas City & Pittsburgh Fan Base

May 12th, 2010
8:30 am

And how many teams did Charles Barkley lead to the championship? Okay, even counting college, how many teams did Charles Barkley lead to the championship?


May 12th, 2010
8:40 am

To whom much is given (hype) much is required (success) so yes his reputation will take a hit. The Cavs were favorites to make it to the NBA Finals by all the “experts” and once again it looks like they are going to come up short. The best player in the world (supposedly) and he doesn’t show up when it matters the most. Still a great player and man-child nonetheless, but he will continue to give Skip Bayless ammunition and sound like a genius about his lack of a killer instinct and clutch gene.


May 12th, 2010
8:49 am

Ted Striker

May 12th, 2010
8:54 am

@ Kansas City 8:30 am — Barkley may not have led his college (or pro) team to a championship, but he uniformly led them to the buffet line.


May 12th, 2010
8:58 am

Tony what games were you watching last year in the Eastern Conference Finals last year that you would make a statement that Lebron choked 5 out of the 6 games in that series. The man hit a game winning buzzer beater in game 2 and he practically put the rest of the team on his back in game 5 to extend the series. You call that choking!!!

Sure it looks bad for the Cavs right now but this series is not over. I have said it b4 and I’ll say it again — Cleveland is just a CURSED sports city; worse than Atlanta (the only major sports win we have came against the Cleveland Indians). And you can add Dwight Howard and Chris Paul to that crew and they still would not win the championship b/c the city is cursed.

Jeff Schultz

May 12th, 2010
9:05 am

Daniel — Great comment. Absolutely agree.

Jeff Schultz

May 12th, 2010
9:06 am

Striker — That part is true. He said he just had a bad night.

Jeff Schultz

May 12th, 2010
9:07 am

Dr. Warren — Yeah, that’s pretty scary huh? No need to ask which part of the year is more important.