Bulls

Is LeBron really a clutch player now?

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Is LeBron really a clutch player now?

There is a common belief among basketball fans that LeBron James has turned into a clutch fourth quarter player this season. The numbers would seem to back up that belief. After all, his scoring, rebounding and usage numbers are all up in clutch situations. The NBA defines clutch stats by performance in the final five minutes of close games (score is within 5).

His 15 point fourth quarter game against the Sixers on April 3rd and his 17 point monster close-out effort against the Nets on April 16th support that. Yes, LeBron James is showing up in the fourth quarter and the "75 cents" jokes that our Bulls analyst Kendall Gill loves to make may not be accurate anymore.

However, when it comes to "game on the line" situations, that is, a possession in the final 30 seconds of a game in which the player's team is tied or trailing by 3 points or less, LeBron rarely takes the final shot.

Watch the closing possession for the Heat yesterday against the Knicks, Dwyane Wade takes the final shot and LeBron doesn't even touch the ball. Now, you can't base a belief off one play, but the Heat have had 18 shots this season (including the playoffs) in a "game on the line" situation. Of those 18 shots, LeBron has only taken three of them. Three.

For comparison, Kobe Bryant, who is widely considered the best active "clutch" player in the NBA has taken 15 of the Lakers' 22 shots with the game on the line. Kevin Durant has taken 20 of the Thunder's 26. LeBron just 3 of 18.

You can argue that he is meant to be a decoy, you can argue that he doesn't want the ball in that situation, you can argue that Wade is the better option, but the fact is that when the Heat need a winning shot, LeBron James is normally watching someone else take it. LeBron is not as "clutch" as people think he is.

I'd love to hear your theories on why this happens. Use our comment option at the bottom of the page or tweet me @CSNKevin.

Zach LaVine is “tired of people talking sh*t about my defense” and working towards becoming an NBA All-Star

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USA Today

Zach LaVine is “tired of people talking sh*t about my defense” and working towards becoming an NBA All-Star

Zach LaVine is fed up with being underestimated and he’s going to do something about it. The Bulls guard has been having a strong pre-season so far but is looking to improve his skills as a two-way player.

“I’m just tired of people talking shit about my defense,” LaVine said. “I’ve always been a good on-ball defender. But there’s no reason I can be this good offensively and not be that on the defensive end.”

“I’m taking more pride in it,” he continued. “I’m pretty sure it’ll show. I’ll make sure of that.”

If you think LaVine sounds confident, he has good reason to be. Last season LaVine was one of only ten players to average at least 23 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, making him stand out as an elite player in the company of MVPs and All-Stars. LaVine’s personal triumphs, however, were overshadowed by the Bulls abysmal 22-60 record last season.

So far, this preseason LaVine has been looking better on defense, averaging 1.3 steals per game through three preseason games. Any improvements defense will help LaVine’s All-Star case.

 

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Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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