The Miami Heat were really, really bad in their Game 3 against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night, losing 94-75 and looking overmatched for most of the 48 minutes. Given the common narratives and the form of this loss, it's likely that LeBron James will get a lot of criticism.
Oddly enough, one of the opposing players thought LeBron choked while the game was still going on. Near the end of the third quarter, Pacers wing Danny Granger grabbed James' jersey on a breakaway and caused a little tiff between the two stars. Granger was given a technical foul, and LeBron missed the free throw. That made Indiana benchwarmer Lance Stephenson perform a Reggie Miller-esque choking gesture. It was in poor taste, but it also stood in for many NBA fans' reactions to the game.
Check out the video above to take a look (or this GIF or this screengrab via SB Nation). After the jump, look at the Granger foul that led to this incident, as well as some thoughts on whether or not James actually choked in this game.
What's curious about Stephenson's gesture is that LeBron and Mario Chalmers were the only two members of the Heat who played well in the game. James wasn't at his absolute best, but his line of 22 points (10-of-22 shooting), seven rebounds and three assists at least gave Miami a chance. As our Kelly Dwyer explains, the real problems were that Dwyane Wade had one of the worst games of his career and that Indiana completely dominated the paint. A fair assessment of what went wrong should barely deal with LeBron at all.
The Heat might be able to bounce back in Game 4 on Saturday, but it looks increasingly difficult without the injured Chris Bosh to help out inside. LeBron's much-discussed issues at the end of games mean very little when his team isn't close in the final minutes.
(Original Stephenson video via EOB)
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