When LeBron James left Cleveland for the sun and fun of Miami, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert made sure to get in some digs on his departing superstar.
He quit, Gilbert said. Not just in Game Five, but in Games Two, Four and Six. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar.
At the time, it sounded somewhat like sour grapes from Gilbert.
But after the 2011 NBA Finals, the basketball world might be thinking that Gilbert was on to something.
In the Finals, James struggled in fourth quarters. At times, he not only lacked aggressiveness to score, he also looked like he didn't want the ball at all, instead deferring to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He made mental mistakes he normally wouldn't make, and lacked his usual upbeat, playful enthusiasm he has for the game.
This didn't seem the like the James we saw against Boston or Chicago.
Overall, James lacked the scoring punch he had in the regular season. He had one triple-double in the series, but the Heat needed scoring, and James couldn't deliver.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, James averaged 26.7 points per game in the regular season, but just 17.8 in the Finals -- the largest discrepancy in history.
Though blame can certainly be directed at James, the Heat could have defeated the Mavericks if they had other things going for them. Miami seemed to drift from their strategy of playing aggressive defense, and a patient offense.
It's possible that by the fourth quarter, James was exhausted. The Heat probably needed to take their time with the 24-second shot clock to let their players rest, and then rotate giving their superstars opportunities to score on successive possessions.
Instead, Erik Spoelstra's squad took early shots, made the game go end to end, and in the process forced themselves to play full-court defense instead of half-court defense, which has been their specialty.
The result was a high-scoring game, and that benefited the Mavericks.
James could have avoided talk of being a quitter and choke artist if his team had won no matter if it was due to him or not. The talent was there, but it seemed like the strategy wasn't.
Perhaps instead of the lack of talent James had in Cleveland, and the pair of superstars he currently has in Miami, the conversation should be about the great coach he needs to win a championship wherever he is?