Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James defended his decision to pass the ball to a wide-open Danny Green for a potential game-winner as he simply trusted in the guard to make the shot. With nine second left in the game, James drew two defenders and returned the ball to an absolutely wide-open Green, who missed a three.
The three would have given the Lakers a 111-109 over the Heat. Lakers forward Markieff Morris caught the ball after Green's missed but his attempted to Anthony Davis resulted in a turnover and the game was over. The Heat won Game 5 111-108 to stay alive in the NBA Finals and reduce the deficit to 3-2.
"If you just look at the play, I was able to draw two defenders below the free-throw line and find one of our shooters at the top of the key for a wide-open three to win a championships,” James said of Green’s miss, following criticism of his decision not to take the potential game-winning shot, per Yahoo Sports.
“I trusted him, we trusted him, and it just didn’t go. You live with that. It’s one of the best shots we could’ve got I feel in that fourth quarter, down the stretch. I had two guys on me ... and Danny had a hell of a look.
It just didn’t go down. I know he wishes he could have it again, and I wish I made a better pass, but you just live with it”.
James enjoyed going at it with Jimmy Butler
James scored a game-high 40 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and also had seven assists but it was enough.
Meanwhile, Heat star Butler -- who made a series of clutch shots late in the game -- finished with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. "That’s the beauty of the game, being able to compete at the highest level,” James told reporters in defeat.
“You take those opportunities, you live in the moment and try to make plays for your team to be successful on both ends. We were both just trying to do that and trying to will our team to a victory, and he was able to make one more play than I was able to make tonight and come away with the victory”.
Before Game 5, Butler said the Heat weren't ready to return home yet as he was confident they would force a Game 6.