DALLAS — You’d have to agree with everything DeShawn Stevenson said about LeBron James.
“He helped us out. When he’s like that, it’s good for us. It’s positive for us.”
Yes, LeBron played right into the Mavericks’ hands, collapsing in the fourth quarter like a bankrupt business in winter.
“I don’t think he was in the same attack mode as he usually is.”
We’ve seen lambs in a more ferocious attack mode at a petting zoo than LeBron in Game 4.
“I don’t know what was happening.”
Join the crowd.
“He wasn’t himself.”
Clearly, he was someone else: Erick Dampier.
“He checked out.”
Yes, like a man with an alibi.
Repeat: Everything Stevenson said had the ring of truth. Here’s the problem: When a superstar just dug himself a hole the size of Dirk’s fever, it’s probably best to let him climb out of it without throwing him a rope. You know, the old let-sleeping-dogs-lie theory. Instead, DeShawn just gave LeBron some motivation to digest, if scoring 8 points in a playoff game wasn’t enough.
And also, it was DeShawn talking. They have a history, you know.
The player who once famously called LeBron “overrated” took it upon himself to be very honest about LeBron. Which is refreshing, really, it is. That said, his assessment of LeBron’s vaporization would serve him and the Mavericks better if it came at the conclusion of the series, so it can’t come back to bite DeShawn in the neck tattoo.
LeBron seemed to shrug it off.
“He’s been talking for a long time, since the old Washington-Cleveland days,” said LeBron, with a grin. “I don’t let that get to us. Talk is cheap. We don’t get caught up in that too much.”
DeShawn wasn’t the only Maverick trying to get into LeBron’s head (can they let us know what’s inside?). Jason Terry, always willing to express himself to anyone who’ll listen, spent a few minutes chirping at LeBron in Game 4. At least that seemed to fire up Jet more than James, because Terry had his best performance of the series.
The aftermath of LeBron’s lowest playoff moment ever was fairly routine, otherwise, at the team practices. Chris Bosh said he expected a more involved effort, as does everyone, the Mavericks included. Stevenson included.
“He’s a great player,” Stevenson said. “He’ll play harder. He has to. He has the same pressure as Jason Terry had.”
Uh, not quite.
LeBron has double.