Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 6/13/12

LeBron James has been criticized his whole career for not stepping up when it really matters. That’s the price you pay when some call you the best in the world. His constant disappearing acts down the stretches of big games have now become part of his calling card.

Last year’s NBA Finals was no exception. James didn’t play to the level he’s capable of and the Heat lost to the Mavericks in six games. LeBron takes a lot of the blame for that.

“I didn’t play well,” James said. “I didn’t make enough game-changing plays that I know I’m capable of making, and I felt like I let my teammates down. I’m happy and I’m humbled that I can actually be back in this position, 12 months later, to do a better job of making more plays, more game-changing plays, out on the floor on a bigger stage.”

James didn’t exactly get off to a great start this year. The Heat let the Thunder storm back in the second half to take Game 1 last night. While it wasn’t all on James’ shoulders last night, the fact that Kevin Durant took over in the 4th quarter to lead the Thunder to victory had to sting a little bit. Durant did in his first finals game what LeBron has been scrutinized his whole career for not doing.

If the Heat lose this series, I may be in the minority but I won’t be blaming LeBron. It’s not his responsibility to score 60 points a game. His teammates haven’t stepped up and that’s the reason the Heat are losing. Last year, it may have been a different story. James’ teammates were putting him in a position to win and he couldn’t close. This year it seems like LeBron is doing everything he can and it’s still not enough.

The series is far from over. At the very least, LeBron James will have three more games to show he can put a team on his back and will them to an NBA championship. If not, I don’t think he should take the blame this time. He is only human after all.

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This article first appeared on Crossover Chronicles and was syndicated with permission.

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