Ahhhh, summoning the short term memory in undying search for a narrative. One of the guilty pleasures of almost every sports critic in 2017. I mean, seriously? Is this what we are going to do? Criticize LeBron James for making the smart, high percentage play? Crap on him for trusting a proven teammate with the ball in crunch time? Extrapolate a relatively mediocre 4th quarter statistically to be more than it was? LeBron James doesn't need my sympathy but if you're going to point fingers at him for last night's late game performance then you are simply pointing a finger at him for being himself, and being himself has made him arguably the best, most versatile player in NBA history.
I suppose you can use it against him in a nauseatingly repetitive, non-formulaic comparison to Michael Jordan, but kicking that ball out to a player who was put on Earth to take open corner threes was basically a foregone conclusion. Driving and dumping to an open guy who is not that far removed from averaging over 26 points a game during an NBA season wasn't some desperate plea to get the ball out of his own hands. They weren't even voluntary decisions as much as they were a product of LeBron's basketball brain instinctually making the "right" play. Those passes are in his DNA, and they have always been in his DNA.
Now, he quite obviously didn't have the greatest quarter of his career in the final period of a game that inevitably all-but-ended what was already a pipe dream. He almost definitely could have demanded the ball and got a better look than Kyrie Irving ended up with, and I'm sure he'd like to take back the unorthodox three pointer that he had surgically blocked by the man that he is a year removed from putting on the 'Top 5' highlight reel of NBA history. As a proud, yet unbelievably sensitive professional he'll never admit that playing basically the whole damn game took it's toll, but I don't exactly think it's any sort of excuse to say that it probably did.
Still, the LeBron we watched last night is the same one that mounted a historic comeback from down 3-1 against the winningest team of all time. That team is exponentially better now so he's almost certainly not going to be doing the same from down 3-0, but that doesn't mean he shied away from the moment as much as it means that the ball didn't bounce his way when he did with it what he has essentially been programmed to do with it. The better team won, but the best player lost. It's absolutely insane that some people are one Kyle Korver made jumper away from comprehending that.