x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

James refusing to panic over finals scoring slump

The two-time MVP hit just three-of-11 shots as Dallas levelled up the series at 2-2.

Miami Heat's LeBron James, right, and Dallas Mavericks' Tyson Chandler go after a rebound during the second half of Game 4.
Miami Heat's LeBron James, right, and Dallas Mavericks' Tyson Chandler go after a rebound during the second half of Game 4.

DALLAS // Miami Heat's LeBron James maintains his confidence has not dropped as low as his scoring totals in the NBA finals.

James, who was fairly abrupt with reporters who questioned his scoring slump after a 17-point haul in Sunday's Game Three, managed only eight in Miami's 86-83 loss to Dallas in Game Four on Tuesday as the Mavs tied the best-of-seven series at 2-2.

This time, however, the two-time MVP and former scoring champion was calm after the game, saying he needed to be more assertive.

"I got the ball in the post a few times, and I seen double teams," he told reporters. "I tried to kick it out to guys and they've made shots for us.

"At the same time, I can't let that stop my aggression when they bring two on the ball. I still got to make plays for my team, but also make plays for myself to keep me in the rhythm of the game.

"I'm confident with my ability. It's about going out there and knocking them down. When you have the opportunity, you have to knock them down."

James, averaging 17 points in the series while taking a backseat to Dwyane Wade on offense, hit just three-of-11 shots against the Mavericks on Tuesday.

"If I had had eight points and we won the game, I could be satisfied," he said. "The fact I could have did more offensively to help our team, that's the anger part about it.

"I'll come back in Game Five and do things that needs to be done to help our team win."

Miami forward Chris Bosh said James "struggled, point blank, period" and wants to see a return to his "laser-light focus".

"I want to see him aggressive again," he said. "Not to say that he was passive tonight, but I think he can turn up his aggression a notch and just really see where he can attack the creases.

"(Dallas is) really clogging it up, and he's not having his usual free rein. They're making him get off the ball."

James said the Heat are a "good bounce-back team" and that he was ready to win Thursday and then claim his first championship back home in Miami.

"Any time we have a loss or we feel like we could have did better in one game, we've always been able to bounce back," he said. "Individuals have been able to bounce back, including myself, D Wade and CB (Bosh) and the guys.

"We understand it's a golden opportunity. Game Five we come here and we play as well as we did tonight, we execute a little better down the stretch, we give ourselves a good chance to win, and go home and be able to close out."

* Reuters