Damian Lillard After Lakers Loss: ‘I Woulda Shot on Both They A–‘

Getty LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

LeBron James was the victim of some unfair criticism on Friday night after he passed the ball to a wide-open Danny Green on a crucial possession in the final seconds of Game 5 that could have landed the Los Angeles Lakers an NBA title.

Instead of forcing his own shot, James attracted a swarm of defenders and tossed the ball out to Green — a 40 percent shooter from 3-point range for his career. However, the slumping Green banked the shot off the front of the rim, and Lakers forward Markieff Morris turned the ball over shortly after securing an offensive rebound.

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“It’s one of the best shots that we could have gotten, I feel, in that fourth quarter, especially down the stretch with two guys on me,” James said. “It just didn’t go down. I know he wishes he [could] have it again. But I wish I could make a better pass.”

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard was asked on Twitter if James made the right play, which coaxed out a classic response from Big Game Dame.

“He made the right play,” Lillard wrote, “but I woulda shot on both they ass.”

Lillard has delivered some massive shots in his career and was the unanimous “Bubble MVP.” However, an injury in the first-round against the Lakers sent him home early and his Blazers were bounced shortly after. But he tells no lies. Lillard would have more than likely been the one shooting with the game on the line if the Blazers were in the same spot — no matter how many defenders were in his face.

But ultimately, it was the right play from James, who led the NBA in assists this season. And even Heat star Jimmy Butler knew that his team got lucky Green wasn’t on target after leaving him wide open.

“Definitely, it was a little bit of luck that Danny Green missed that shot at the top of the key,” Butler said on the ESPN broadcast after the game.

CJ McCollum Wanted LeBron James to Shoot

HEAT at LAKERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | October 9, 2020HEAT at LAKERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | October 9, 2020 🏆 #NBAFINALS PRESENTED BY YOUTUBE TV – GAME 5 🏆 Led by Jimmy Butler’s 35 PTS, 12 REB and 11 AST, the Miami Heat defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 111-108, in Game 5. Additionally for the Heat, Duncan Robinson recorded 26 PTS (7 3PM)…2020-10-10T03:44:58Z

Lillard wasn’t the only Blazers guard to weigh in. His partner in crime, CJ McCollum, also weighed in, saying he wanted James to shoot, but felt he made the right play.

“Good look, good shot. Folks [want] Bron to shoot over three people [because] he arguably the [GOAT]. He made the right play,” McCollum wrote. “Did I want him to shoot over 3 folks. Yes lol. But he good enough to score over a couple guys but wired to make smart plays and that’s a high [percent] uncontested shot by a [champ].”

McCollum continued: “I ain’t Bron lmao. But I’m always going out shooting. The right play in my mind is the fadeaway, especially when I got 40. There’s a reason why all players aren’t paid equally lol. Some people get paid to make those plays and live with them. Others hoping they don’t have to.”

LeBron James Has No Regrets Over Decision

Others were not as kind as the Blazers stars when it came to LeBron passing up the final shot.

“Yes Danny Green was open but I don’t care what no one says,” ESPN analyst Jay Wiliams wrote. “Bron needed to shoot that shot. PERIOD.”

James’ coach, however, had his back.

“He was ready to take on the whole team,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of James. “He had two guys on him. A third defender came. So with three guys on you, he made the right play. Danny is one of our best shooters, he had a great look, and we live with the results.”

It’s not the first time an all-time great has passed up a shot in the Finals. As many have pointed out, Jordan did it multiple times in his career in crunch-time, as did Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. James is arguably the highest-IQ player the NBA has ever seen and won’t be changing his approach to the game because of one missed opportunity.

Steve Kerr Hits Game Winner For the BullsIn the final seconds of game 6, with the score tied at 86, Steve Kerr took a pass from Michael Jordan and hit the game-clinching shot.2010-06-01T19:40:00Z

“I’ve always played the game the same way since I was a kid and I’ve had success doing it,” James said. “I won’t let a play here or a play there change my outlook on the game and how I play the game.”

The Lakers and LeBron have a chance to wrap up the title once again on Sunday in Game 6. LA is an early 5-point favorite for the potential title-clincher.

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