During yesterday’s 122-119 overtime Cavs win over the Heat in Rio, Brazil, there were a lot of headlines asking whether LeBron James forgot he didn’t play for the Heat anymore. In one sequence involving Cavs backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova, James appears to set a pick on his own man when it was really just a communication breakdown between two new teammates.
Watch as Luol Deng comes up on the left wing to set a screen on Matthew Dellavedova, who is guarding Norris Cole. LeBron is trailing behind Deng on the play. Deng quickly slips the screen into the left corner, and LeBron hedges out on the pic believing Dellavedova will go behind him to stay with Cole and double him beyond the three-point arc after the screen (we’re guessing here, since later in the game we saw Cavs defenders jump out on those high screens to double the high screen). Instead, it looks like LeBron is setting a screen on his own teammate. Hence, everyone’s headline is already set.
It’s preseason, and there are going to be communication failures as new teammates get comfortable with one another. This is such a case, but because it came when James was playing against the team he took to the Finals four consecutive times, it drew a lot more attention that we thought it deserved. It’s a meaningless play in the preseason — as are most of the plays in the preseason. Still, we’d be remiss if we didn’t show you the play in question since it make Sportscenter’s Not Top 10.
Deng air-balled the ensuing shot from the left corner after Cole’s bounce pass, and bloggers were gift wrapped a headline that writes itself.
What do you think?
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