LeBron James can be the best player in the world at any given moment. The Lakers star might not be quite the same athletic specimen that flew around the court, dunked everything possible, and made entire teams bend to his will as he was in his absolute prime, but he’s still LeBron James. That means that he can still lead teams to wins on his own. In Game 3 of the NBA Finals, he certainly tried with an impressive 25 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists performance (with eight turnovers), but it wasn’t enough though to overcome Jimmy Butler’s 40 point triple-double as Miami picked up a 115-104 win to make it a 2-1 sereis.
As the Heat dribbled out the clock with victory in hand they allowed themselves a 24-second violation. Before the violation could occur LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, and Anthony Davis began to walk off the floor. Once they realized that the game technically wasn’t over most of them returned to the floor. James did not. This actually resulted in a bit of a delay to the game ending as the Lakers had to scramble to get a 5th player on the floor — hello, Jared Dudley Finals minutes — so they could allow the clock to expire. James simply continued on to the locker room.
LeBron walked off the court with 10 seconds left. pic.twitter.com/zTvwZhHDq5
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 5, 2020
It is a moment that will garner plenty of discussion from talking heads, but maybe he just thought the game was over right? After the game, James was asked about it and he confirmed that he did think the game was over, but he also mentioned that a part of his walk off was his frustration with the loss.
LeBron on if he walked off the court early because he thought the game was over or out of frustration “Both” pic.twitter.com/vH61O4rDCS
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 5, 2020
“When you walked off the court with about 10 seconds left was that frustration or did you think the game was over?”
This really isn’t that huge a deal. It’s not like the Heat had just finished off the Lakers to win the series and James was escaping congratulatory handshakes. Players frequently leave losses without speaking to one another and James choosing to leave early, while not the best look in the world, is really minor in terms of ways to react poorly to a situation.
Of course, this is LeBron James we’re talking about here and everything he does is under a microscope. He has to be aware that every single decision he makes is going to become a talking point and a potential drama startup. James appears to have taken care of it pretty quickly by giving a clear “both” and nothing else about the walk off, but Miami, a team perpetually searching for fuel, will certainly have noticed it.