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LeBron James’ decision to pass to Danny Green brings out Twitter critics

Michael Holley and Michael Smith reflect on LeBron James' journey off the court, what he has meant for the city of Akron, and his off the court legacy is untouchable.

LeBron James had the ball out top with 16.8 seconds left in the game and the Lakers down 1. Jimmy Butler was in front of him. LeBron drove to his right, Butler moved with him and two-other Heat defenders closed in, so LeBron made the right basketball play and made a pass out to a wide-open Danny Green at the top of the key — and Green missed the shot. The Lakers lost.

That led to LeBron’s critics coming to life on Twitter to complain he didn’t go full-on hero ball and shoot over three defenders. Jay Williams of ESPN led the way.

There was plenty of backlash for Williams, while other NBA players stepped up to defend LeBron’s decision.

LeBron said this is who he is — he makes the right basketball play. LeBron has made a pass at the end of a game to players like Donyell Marshall, Ray Allen, Kyrie Irving, and others. This time the shot didn’t fall.

“I’ve always played the game the same way since I was a kid and I’ve had success doing it. And I won’t let a play here or a play there change my outlook on the game and how I play the game,” LeBron said. “I mean, 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 championship. I trusted him, we trusted him, and it just didn’t go. You live with that. You live with that.”

While Green was wide open, Miami was willing to live with that.

“At the end of the day, I like those decisions,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of his team’s defense on that play. “I mean we had everybody in the paint, LeBron just had a bunch of those possessions in the fourth quarter where he was just getting to the basket, offensive rebounding, everything at the rim, to the free throw line. So we needed to bring not only a second defender there, a third defender. Then they cut and of course Danny Green is there.

“But there was a karma to it. I thought our competitive spirit throughout the course of the game was great. Sometimes it’s make or miss and sometimes you need to be a little bit fortunate; we were.”