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's scoring streak has him in Michael Jordan company

Zach LaVine's scoring streak has him in Michael Jordan company

Zach LaVine began the season with four straight games of 30 or more points, which was the second best such streak in Bulls history to Michael Jordan.

Now, LaVine has scored 20 or more points in the first 14 games of the season. That, of course, is the second best such streak in Bulls history to Michael Jordan.

LaVine finished with 26 points on Monday against the Mavericks to extend the streak to 14 games. Jordan, of course, did this twice.

With Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis out, LaVine has been asked to carry a more significant scoring load. For now, there's no reason to think LaVine won't continue to score 20 points every game. He is averaging just over 20 field goal attempts per game, which is by far the most on the team.

When the Bulls get healthier, it will be interesting to see how the pieces reassimilate into the team and how it will affect LaVine's numbers. The only game Kris Dunn played this season was also the game LaVine took the fewest shot attempts this season. He was 11-for-15 at the Mavs on Oct. 22. That game was also his season-high point total of 34.

WATCH: Zach LaVine throws down a windmill dunk on a fast break

WATCH: Zach LaVine throws down a windmill dunk on a fast break

Zach LaVine added another eye-catching dunk to his collection on Monday.

The former dunk contest champ stole the ball from Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. to set up a breakaway and finished with a windmill dunk.

Last game, Saturday against the Cavs, LaVine had a similar breakaway and chose a 360 jam on that one.

Deciding which one is better is like choosing between children. Does LaVine have a checklist of showtime dunks he plans on using throughout the season?