On Friday night against the Utah Jazz, LeBron James put up one of those statlines where you would know it was him without even looking at the name attached to it: 35 points, 16-for-24 shooting, 10 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and no turnovers. Ridiculous, right? Too bad the Heat still lost the game by a point, and when LeBron passed out of a double team to a wide open Udonis Haslem for the potential game-winning shot — and Haslem missed the shot as the clock expired — the buzz on Twitter was mostly about how LeBron “wilted in the clutch” yet again.

The “LeBron isn’t clutch” narrative annoys me because too many people narrowly define clutch as “making the game-winning shot”. If you watched that final play and you’re completely objective about LeBron, you should agree with me that LeBron made the right play. LeBron was double-covered, Haslem is a decent mid-range shooter, and Haslem was open. Just because Kobe Bryant probably would have taken the shot in that situation, that doesn’t make it the right play.

Of course, what would be defined as “the right play” for most basketball players doesn’t apply to Kobe Bryant — according to some people, anyway. If you replace LeBron with Kobe and Haslem with Pau Gasol on that same play, I imagine most Lakers fans would want Kobe to take that shot. And the reason why they want Kobe to take that game-deciding shot is because of his reputation as the best clutch shooter in the NBA.

This reputation doesn’t just exist in the minds of fans. In a January survery of NBA General Managers by NBA.com, 48.1 percent of the respondents said they would want Kobe “taking a shot with the game on the line”. In last year’s survey, Kobe was named by 78.6 percent of the respondents. Most likely, the GMs feel this way about Kobe for the same reason his fans do — he’s made a lot of memorable buzzer-beaters in his career. He’s also missed a lot of those shots, and I’ve long believed that the quantity of his misses gets overlooked in this narrative.

Luckily for us, Basketball-Reference.com recently launched their “Shot Finder” which claims to track every shot from the 2000-01 season through to this season — up to the February 28 games, as of this writing. The table below shows the results of my Shot Finder query with the following criteria: regular season or playoffs, fourth quarter or overtime, 0:05 or less remaining, shot to tie or to take the lead. The Shot Finder doesn’t let you query across multiple seasons, so I did it for this season and the previous two seasons and added up the numbers for 35 of the most prominent players in terms of overall fame/ability or their tendency to take these shots. If you think I excluded a worthy player, feel free to look him up yourself.

As you can see, I sorted the results by field goals made. Part of me wants to dismiss the meaning behind these numbers because of the sample size — would you be comfortable making an absolute judgement on a player’s shooting skill based on 23 or fewer field goal attempts? But when it comes right down to it, these numbers do absolutely nothing to change Kobe’s and LeBron’s reputations.

As it turns out, Kevin Durant appears to have the most undeserved reputation as a clutch performer. He received 30.8 percent of the GM votes for “taking a shot with the game on the line” and while he’s taken more of those shots than anyone else, his results in those situations have been dismal. As Skeets and Tas have frequently pointed out, Thunder coach Scott Brooks’ playcalling probably deserves a lot of the blame for this.

For me, the most compelling number in this table is the combined field goal percentage for these players. We would all probably guess that the field goal percentage in these situations would be lower than in other situations because of the defensive intensity associated with game-deciding scenarios. But the shockingly poor field goal percentages of so many of the game’s elite players in these situations makes me wonder if coaches should start experimenting with using their stars as decoys in clutch moments. If the defense has a pretty good idea who is going to take that shot, the difficulty level for that player making the shot clearly goes way up.

Small sample sizes and all, it’s hard to make a good case that LeBron should have taken that final shot on Friday. Haslem was open, LeBron wasn’t, and LeBron doesn’t appear comfortable taking those shots, regardless. As for Kobe, it appears I owe him and his fans an apology for doubting his legend as much as I have. I still believe the concept of “clutch shooting” is overrated, but I certainly can’t continue implying that Kobe’s reputation is undeserved.

Comments (109)

  1. Thunder players are 4 of 37 in the clutch!
    Lets hope for their sake that their playoff games don’t come down to the wire.

    • In Kevin Durants defense (and Derrick Rose for that matter): they are getting better at it. For a player to develop into a clutch player you need seasoning. No one would’ve called Durant clutch two seasons ago, but no one was calling him or his team consistent winners at that point either.

      • Wow please just…… Stop already.


        LeBron is just fine in the clutch. I would love to see Kobe’s clutch numbers against the Pistons and Celtics.

        What a bunch of apologists. It has nothing to do with the last shot, LeBron is just better just like Shaq was.

        • this is the last 5 minutes of a game or OT. clutch is considered the last 5 seconds, 24 at the MOST. a team could get the ball with 45 seconds and wind it down and shoot with 21 seconds left, and the offensive team knows they can foul and get another shot. clutch is the last shot, or basically the last shot: with 2 or 1 or 0 seconds left when the shot goes in..also, these games could be blowouts. clutch is with the game on the line. if the Heat/lakers are up by 25 and someone makes a shot at the end, its just for fun or pouring on the lead. Clutch is defined something like: within 10 sseconds of the end of the 4th or overtime, AND with the score differential at 3 points or less….but, Lebron does have a high FG % which is great, he just takes select shots that are higher percentage. Very smart and effecient, but at the end of the game you don;t often get those type of looks.

          • Did you read the article? The analysis is done with various definitions of “clutch” and only includes 5 point games. No blowouts.

    • LEBRON james in the playoffs:

      5 for 12 in the final 24 seconds.

      Kobe 6 for 21.

      • this is not the last 5 or 10 seconds. alot of these are regular shots. WITH THE GAME ON THE LINE is what we are talking about here. if it’s a blowout, who cares. if the team is up by 20 who cares, or down by 20. clutch is when one shot is very very important and at the very end of the game.

      • what has lebron done in the playoffs besides lose two finals? I guarantee those 6-21 were more important than lebron’s.

      • u r wrong this is not a fact

  2. Jordan Sams of Liberty Ballers did a good statistical analysis on this same subject a few days ago. Looked back since 2000.

  3. I think for most fans it’s not about percentages it’s about willingness. Kobe is willing to put his name on the final play of the game. Jordan was willing to put his name on the final play of the game – miss or make. Lebron is not willing to do that. Udonis Haslem is not who you want taking ANY shot at the end of the game unless it’s a put back lay up. Lebron had PLENTY of room to elevate and take the final shot. That he passed out of it shows his unwillingness to step up and be “the man” – which he clearly isn’t. If you were having a shooting/scoring night like that and you honestly think that the right decision was to pass out of a super soft double team to Udonis Haslem then your basketball IQ is ZERO.

  4. I found the Durant numbers to be really surprising. 15 of the 23 FGA were 3 point shots; seems like he’s settling with a percent that high

  5. I believe 100% of the time to pass to the open teammate (Except to obvious poor shooters i.e. Ben Wallace), these are professional basketball players and at this level should be expected to knock down an open jumper

  6. jnuh: LeBron is 0-for-11 on those shots since 2009-10, yet I have no basketball IQ when I suggest that it might not be optimal for him to shoot in that situation while double-teamed? Right.

  7. ESPN did something similar, but they went back to 1996-1997.


  8. Scott: What are Haslem’s percentages in those same situations? Probably zero.

    How is that the right play then?

    Maybe my writing isn’t up to your lofty standards but I was trying to suggest that anyone in that shooting situation (mainly Lebron) who passes out of a very, very loose double team to a barely average shooting teammate for a game winning attempt has zero basketball IQ. If Lebron is that talented and playing that well then he should be taking that shot 10 times out of 10 and not passing to a barely serviceable power forward jacking one up from 15 feet. At least Jordan had the sense to pass to professional shooters like Kerr or Paxson.

    Optimal schmoptimal.

  9. The striking stat to me is that Kobe is responsible for 10% of 3 point attempts and 28% of 3 pointers made. Take him out the running and everyone else is 11.6% on threes. When you think about that stat it’s kind of crazy to vote for anyone else in the clutch.

  10. Jnuh: Udonis Haslem is not barely serviceable, let’s be real. His career FG% is .496. He is also one of the better mid range shooting big’s in the league.

    You should probably click on the link that was provided to you in the article and do your own research.

  11. Also, for anyone interested, using these same criteria Brandon Roy was 2 for 6 overall, missing his only two 3 point attempts. Those numbers put him in pretty good company on this list.

  12. Bernie: a career .496% shooter!??! OMG. That’s amazing! He’s one of the better mid range shooting big men in the league?! OMG! How did I not know that?!?

    OF COURSE Lebron should have passed it to him in that situation. I totally forgot about Haslem’s reputation for knocking down game winning jumpers. 0_0

    He’s got such excellent form. Such poise in the clutch. It’s like watching Ray Allen coming off a screen and knocking down a corner three.

    Lebron is getting paid 1,000,000,000,0000,0000,000 to make a passes to non-shooters in the clutch, right?

    Must have missed that one as well.

  13. Didn’t lebron make the GW against orlando?

  14. jnuh: Haslem hasn’t taken a shot in this type of situation since the 2009-10 season, but he made it. He’s capable of hitting that shot at any point of the game, and it’s a higher percentage shot overall than any shot LeBron could have taken in that situation. Of course, it’s no fun to admit that when you can blindly stick to the type of talking points that certain sports media loudmouths choose to shout at us.

    Pika: Which game are you referring to? That would be pretty easy to verify through play-by-play data if you can tell me the specific game. Here are the games LeBron has played against the Magic in the last 3 seasons.

    • he hit the game winner in ecf and then freaked the f out

      • I question the validity of this article when there are 2 instances of LBJ making a game winning shot (with less than 5 seconds on the clock) in 2009 alone:


        More importantly setting the bar at 5 seconds or less is entirely arbitrary and discounts the last several minutes leading up to that point which are arguably more important. In a close game it’s better to dominate those moments and break a lead open than be forced into a desperate shot attempt to beat the buzzer. Sure it makes for more entertaining basketball, but it’s not smart basketball. So I don’t see this chart of yours being of any real consequence.

    • You’re wrong. Haslem took an 18-footer, a range where he is making 37% of his shots this season.

      If LeBron had kept the ball and driven to the rim, he could have gotten a 3-9 foot shot (45% this season) or a shot at the rim, where he is shooting 78%. Or he could have drawn contact for a foul and two free throws.

  15. Lebron hit game winner vs in playoffs 2008…. Also against warriors in regular season in like 07

  16. The part of this whole debate that makes me crazy is: WHY does LeBron have to be “clutch” to be considered great? Think of every great player you can–how many built that greatness on being “clutch”–as defined by hitting the game-winning shot? The ones that spring immediately to my mind are MJ, Kobe, Bird, Magic, Reggie Miller, Hondo, and Jerry West. So because they have that “clutch” reputation that means that they are better than, say, Wilt? Or Oscar Robertson? Or Karl Malone? Of course not. So LeBron’s not a “clutch player”. Who fucking cares?

    • I care and so does the rest of the world. good luck trying to win a championship with an arrogant choke artist who can’t make a game winning shot. Lebron obviously hasn’t achieved success at success at success.

      • Lebron game winners 21-68 for 31%. Kobe is 31-103 for 30%.
        Lebron dominates the whole game, Kobe only gets a chance for game winners, cuz his team is supporting his ball hog mentality the whole game. Kobe refused to play for the team that drafted him, ride the bench a year or two. Wasn’t even rookie of the year. Kobe knew Charlotte sucked and refused to play with them. Lebron knew Cleveland sucked. Changed the whole franchise. Kobe has no heart, he does everything for himself. He F’s off games, then blames it on everyone else except himself. Dude has no integrity, leadership or heart. He had shaq for 3 yrs, sucked. Cried, then here come Pau and Bynum, 2 more rings, now he sucks again and he’s back crying. He’s a wimp. Lebron empowers his teammates. That’s why his stats are sick. Give me lebron, he does more with less.

        • You sound fucking stupid Lebron is the biggest flopping ass soft ass bitch in the NBA…..if you wanna talk about wimps how about you look at your favorite player first dumbass

  17. It’s a fair point Finn, but the main definition of greatness is winning.

    For the same reason that Bill Russell is greater than Wilt, LeBron will not be remembered as being as great as the likes of MJ unless he wins titles. Clutch play goes a long way to winning titles.

    • agreed. that’s why this is all fodder to our fantasies. real talk of comparisons should be made after their careers are over. wasn’t lebron the good nba dude and kobe the whining veteran a little over five years ago?

  18. These stats treats these 2 kinds things the same, right? A possession beginning with 18 seconds left when the ball ends up in a man’s hand with 4.5 seconds left and he shoots it to win/tie the game. And an inbounds play with .8 seconds left that goes right to the shooter. That may not affect the comparisons between players too much (though it might), but it might go a long way to explaining the low overall percentage.

  19. Funny how Scott is choosing to ignore all the comments on ‘his’ idea being a few days too late…

  20. @Scott Whatever you do, don’t let the guys from the baseball blog see this. They will tell you your sample size is way to small and that the last three years is an arbitrary parameter.

  21. Fakester: Am I claiming to be the first person to write a post about Kobe, LeBron and clutch shooting? It’s been written about many times before and it will be written about many times in the future. I just chose to write about this now because of Friday night and because I’ve been meaning to do a post involving the new Shot Finder. As for the picture, it was the second photo that came up on Getty Images on a “Kobe Bryant LeBron James” search before today’s game.

    Meet Joe Black: They wouldn’t be wrong to say that. it is a small sample size and it is an arbitrary parameter. I chose the last 2 1/2 seasons because I wanted the new generation of stars (Griffin, Rose, Durant, Westbrook) to be part of the the discussion, but it’s still arbitrary. And I still don’t really buy into the “clutch” concept all that much, but these numbers are compelling, nevertheless.

  22. 5 seconds? Sorry, that’s a stupid criteria. Thats just pure buzzer beaters, not clutchness. 30 seconds or less would be a better search.

  23. Thanks for taking 9 paragraphs and a redundant chart to tell us that Kobe is still great and that you suck Lebron’s dick

    • http://bbs.hoopchina.com/3321813.html

      Why don’t you suck on that?

      Last week, Kobe couldn’t do without me. Last week…..


      • Ugghhh I’m not sucking on anything…

        You can go back to jerking some stat machine and sucking off Lebron’s talent juice. Talent doesn’t win championships. Confidence and great leaders do. You don’t make as many big shots as Kobe does until you take as many big shots as Kobe does. All percentages aside, clutch players are defined by assuming a clutch role over and over again.

  24. This is so stupid. Small samples like this are ridiculous, shame on the author for pandering to the Kobe apologists.

  25. Remember Steve Kerr – Jordan gave him the ball in the biggest clutch situation of all – luckily, Kerr made it… I root against LeBron for all sorts of reasons but, not for choosing to pass to an open teammate as opposed to forcing up a bad “clutch” shot.

    • They’re not really getting the point though. The game is 48 minutes long, and Wade lost the game. Everytime Wade messes up he should get the blame not LeBron.

      He missed two shots, and then Wade split his free throws, and Wade also let Harris get 3 free points on FTs.

  26. I clicked over just to check out the comments. Sometimes, being right sucks. Could most of you just go back to espn. mmkthanks.

    Good article, Scott.

    • Tough luck, I did the dirty work and found out the truth. Kobe is one of the worst clutch players in the NBA, if you go by last second Game winning shots.

      I love how people conveniently forget Shaq averaged 36 PPG 14 RPG in the 3-peat, and he sucked at “game winners”.

      • In the Finals of the 3-peat, just to correct myself.

      • i hate kobe, and i think it’s great that you did a bunch of extra research to find your data. but saying things like “Kobe is one of the worst clutch players in the NBA” makes you sound silly. Hate on Kobe, say he’s not as good as his reputation, but don’t make grand, obviously innacurate statements (there are over 400 players in the NBA, please list 250 – 300 players you think are better in the clutch than Kobe) when trying to prove a point. stick to your facts and you will be taken more seriously.

      • When i referred to myself being “right”, I was referring to the fact that there tends to be a lot of trolling in the comments section of Kobe articles. I especially enjoyed koalabearsquint’s claim that Scott is sucking Lebron’s dick and jnuh’s hilarious attempt at sarcasm.

  27. I want to know what Spoelstra called during the timeout. Was Haslem expecting the pass? If so, then I like the play, if not, then it could be tough for a player of Udonis’s caliber to gather and shoot with time expiring.
    I also don’t agree with the comparison of Kobe/Pau. Pau is an elite player (or at least much closer to elite than Haslem), and I think Lakers fans would be fine seeing Kobe pass out of a soft-double to a wide open Gasol.
    It seems a lot of the ‘heat’ (god, that’s terrible) from fans in regards to LeBron in the clutch is that he seemed almost timid. Had he driven hard to the hoop, garnered a hard-double then I think people’s perception of him as ‘weak in the clutch’ would change. [I'm not saying that this is an accurate perception].

    • Brandon you’re not very savvy.

      Since 2000: On over 1000 shots with the game in the final 5 minutes, score within 5:

      Kobe shoots 39.7% in the clutch since 2000, LeBron shoots 46%.

      I really don’t like your random ramblings this is why I am getting involved.

      • I’m not trying to ignite a debate, which seems like you are embroiled in – with yourself maybe. I never said Kobe was a better ‘clutch’ performer.
        My point, if not clear before, is that passing to an open teammate with time expiring and the game on the line is maybe not such a great play if said teammate is unprepared.
        Now if in the huddle LeBron said something to the effect ‘if they double off you be ready to shoot’ then I stand corrected.

  28. I’ve also heard a lot of comparisons of Jordan passing to Kerr in ’97 Finals. The big difference I see there is that Kerr was ready for the pass. He literally said ‘if he doubles, I’ll be READY’. Again, I don’t know if LeBron told Haslem to ‘be ready’. But for anyone who has played a lot of basketball you know that if a player receives the ball in situation they aren’t used to then that’s a recipe for disaster.

    • i agree with this assessment. i just want to say another difference between mj/kobe and lebron is this: mj/kobe looks to take and make the winning shot and will pass if it appears that a shot is improbable. lebron looks to make a play, not necessaruly take a shot.

      • Except when MJ passed twice on game winning shots in the Finals that won TITLES.

        Except MJ didn’t have his all-star teammate fouling Devin harris twice on three point plays.

        • that’s because devin harris was not yet playing during MJ’s time. lol. kidding aside, i love d-wade’s game but he also pissed me off during the utah game, two fouls on devin and the botched FT.

  29. it’s funny how miami racked off impressive wins and the attention on them was not as much as the attention being given to the pass that lebron made. i’m a fan of lebron and i saw the utah game. i was wishing he would take the final shot, didn’t care even if he missed it. but he did not. if they still won, there would not be as much fuss because lebron would’ve made a game-winning play. and isn’t that what its about, winning? sure, lebron did not take the shot. according to the data, he hasn’t made a “clutch” shot in almost three seasons now. but can’t we consider as clutch the good passes that resulted in winning basket (to bosh in the finals, to wade against wolves earlier this season) or shots under a minute that ended up as the winning margin (bulls and c’s in the playoffs) or even game saving blocks (against KD and another one when he was still a Cav)?

    • Well exhale a little bit, because Wade nor Kobe’s clutch numbers are as good as LeBron’s. LeBron had a bad clutch year in 2011, that’s different from having a better body of work overall.

  30. http://bbs.hoopchina.com/3321813.html

    This link clearly proves you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Kobe is about as clutch as Allen Iverson was in his prime.

    • Jesus you people are annoying. Kobe by any measure plays significantly worse in the Clutch overall. Playoffs or not that link above from Hoopchina shreds him.

  31. Do some more COMPLETE research with the Shot finder before you run your mouth.

  32. Bitches, bitches, please, calm down. There are more important things going on in everybody’s lives, if there aren’t, there should be…jeez…

    • sports talk is just additional spice. of course there are more important things going on in everbody’s lives,.. man, i hope i’m right.

  33. What is always the problem with this discussion is that we define clutch so narrowly, usually the final few seconds with the buzzer beater. What gets lost is how Kobe was in position to take that shot. I’ve seen him do it a million times. Somehow with under 5:00 to go he puts up 8 or 10 or some such crazy thing and suddenly the lakers have a chance at it.

    I believe that the reason Kobe has had so many of those type of shots is because he damn well earned them. I admit there are times when he should have passed, but what are you gonna do? He’s the reason they are there for the shot! Make or miss, ball-hog or not, I’ll live with it as a fan.

  34. Kobe deserves his reputation. Half of his clutch misses are because the play breaks down, the ball gets dumped off to him, and he has to get off a hail mary shot. LeBron in those situations looks for D-Wade.

    • how many times had the play broken down for the heat with lebron getting the ball and looking for d-wade instead? how many times have lebron passed to d-wade (or bosh for that matter) within the design of the play?

      this apparent clutchness of kobe does not make him better than lebron. i’m a fan of lebron and if you give me that argument, i’ll just say let the statistics tell you who is better. i’ll admit though that the statistics themselves does not mean lebron is better than kobe. lebron is clearly the more talented basketball player. for now though. kobe is the better overall basketball player because he helped his team win 5 championships, lebron has none. although i believe (and hope) he will win at least one.

  35. let me make another point. during the lakers win over the heat, the lead was big but was dwindled to 6 under 2 mins. inbound pass to gasol was almost intercepted by lebron. had that play resulted in a score for the heat and they went on to win the game, wouldn’t you consider that a “clutch” play that helped the heat to win? however, the ball ended up in kobe’s hand who calmly sank a jumper. that shot practically ended any hope of a heat comeback. wasn’t that ‘clutch” even if the shot did not result in a tie or a lead change for the lakers or even if the point differential at that point is not less than 5?

    being clutch should be about making any basketball play at the time that it is needed to be made under the game situation.

  36. i think kobe wouldn’t take that shot…but what he would’ve done was go left i bet

    Lebron had a defender infront of him and to his right, leaving his left open to take a few steps in and go for a fadeaway or force the drive. I could totally see kobe doing either one of those

    • i agree. although to me, it seems kobe would waive haslem off so he can take his defender one-on-one. it is who kobe is.

  37. Jesus… i can only imagine WrongWrongWrong smugly sitting at his computer needing to to debate everyone. STFU you faggot, you mad your point the first time.

  38. Again clutchy performance from LeBron against poor Kobe and his Lakers ;)

  39. Free throws are missing from this stat line and are just as important in the clutch as field goals.

  40. @Scott – where’s this shot? Are you sure you included playoffs? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fD1MNjkPFs

  41. comon pass this one up like James. haha

  42. TyroneLT: I agree with you on the importance of free throws. Unfortunately, the Shot Finder tool doesn’t include those. I don’t claim that these numbers are actually definitive of anything, but they’re certainly interesting.

  43. man we got the kobe and lebron fanboys in here!!!!!

  44. you have kevin love as 0-2 for 3′s. If this is the last 2 seasons, wouldn’t that include the 3 he hit at the buzzer to win this season? Am I not remembering that shot right, or is there something wrong with your table?

  45. Mike: That’s definitely an error on my part. I can’t fix it now because it’s an image and the source table is on my home computer, but I’ll update this graphic tonight. Good catch.

  46. Obviously this topic will generate a 1000000000 comments… well done Scott…

  47. People need to just chill the fuck out lol. The article is looking at the most relevant seasons. It really makes no sense going back to 2000 or the 90s when players age, go through slumps and a plethora of other variables. Quit being Trolls and enjoy the article, your statistics about information that is not included in the article are invalid and non-applicable to any argument or debate about the article.

    Anyways to the good stuff… Great Article… In my opinion, YES my opinion, don’t spazz out now. The correct basketball play was made by Lebron and Haslem could’ve made the extra pass but it was the right play. As fans of the game, we want to see the stars take that big shot because its exciting. Nobody gives a shit about Haslem, we want to see Lebron take that shot due to the ridicule he has received for failing in the clutch. However, once again, in MY OPINION, if a finger is to be pointed, its at Haslem. Its the NBA and its a good look at a free thow line jumepr that he should’ve knocked down. Lebron could have indeed taken the shot but its about winning, not praise.

    • Well how else can you increase the sample size to a statistically relevant level without going back. As you said, this could just be a fluke stretch, like Kobe went through a phase where he was hitting game winners left and right, yet throughout his career his #’s on those shot and declining team efficiency paint a different picture. The data is irrelevant when trying to come up with a defining conclusion for clutchness unless you increase the sample size, yet if you do your dealing with a player who may not be that guy anymore. Tho in the case of Bron/Wade/Kobe, I dont think it hurts them much when everyone has been in their prime throughout the sample set.

  48. Everyone is sorting through the PbP data and coming up with their own conclusions and definition for clutchness. Bron is still hella clutch, hes just not great at last second shots it appears. Even tho the sample size is ridiculously minuscule, you have to figure 0-11 means even with great stretch (fluke stretch) he will still have low #’s.

    • THIS. When you look at LeBron’s production in the final two minutes of close games this year, there’s no one who’s made or taken more shots.

      Still, when there’s 15 or less on the clock, you don’t expect him to a) shoot it, b) make it if he does.

      So come up with your own definition.

  49. To be fair, even as a Laker fan I would’ve wanted Kobe to pass that to Gasol. He’s been taking that elbow jumper all season long and making it at pretty consistent rate.

  50. You know what clutch is being down by 8 bring your team back and avoiding the clutch.. That aspect is severely underrated.. The moments when your two point lead goes to 5. Making the “Clutch Moment” void. Then you couple that with making play after play after play yourself.. of course with help but time after time its a series of plays..


  51. Has anyone sent this to Henry Abbott yet?

  52. As time winds down, the pressure to hit a game winning shot increases. The question of whether or not you take that shot depends on if you are willing to take that shot or pass the ball and let someone else take that shot. I like this table because the last 5 minutes of a game means nothing if the deciding bucket is shot in the last seconds of the game. It is great if you like to see padded stats, but the essence of winning a game in the last moments is what every single basketball player dreams of doing. When you are outside with friends doing that 5 second countdown before you fire up that shot, you can see that wild smile wash across your face when you sink a jumper. Nobody does a 5 minute countdown. Can you imagine your friends watching you dribble around saying “300…299…298…297″
    Every second you wind down is more pressure. IF you miss a shot with 21 seconds left, it is not the end of the game. Hell, you might get 2 more shots at winning a game in 21 seconds. Of course, you might hit a game winner with 23 seconds left and watch the other team fail to hit a game winner themselves in that remaing 23 seconds.
    But the last 5 seconds, with the game in the balance, I would never go with LeBJ. He has not proven to anyone that he can win games with a last second shot. And to me that is why his the the most expensive handicap to your team the NBA will ever see. Teams will still double team him to keep him from traveling to the rim, but they won’t respect his shot. That Soft double he got was evident of a defense that knew he would not shoot. And every time a game is in the balance and the Heat need to make a shot, the defenses will clog the middle and LeBJ will continue to pass to the open Heat player safe in the knowledge that his fans will protect his good name by saying it was the right thing to do.
    Meanwhile, Kobe doesn’t hesitate to take the shot knowing that he is willing to take that shot anytime his team needs him. 14-31 is a hell of a lot better than 0-20.
    You can look at stats in a ton of ways to prove your point, but in the end, game winners mean a lot more than padded stats. Having someone willing to take and hit game winners is a lot better than a player who is willing to pass first and hope nobody notices.

  53. Who cares, really ? The most clutch is Jason Terry.

  54. You do know the link claiming LeBron’s more clutch than Kobe is hard to compare right? Kobe took about 500 more shots in the last 5 minutes of the game than LeBron. What doesn’t show is that sometimes Kobe takes those “heatchecks” that he so often does when the game is tied or they lead by a few points. He throws up a seemingly difficult shot that can either demoralize an opponent greatly or miss it badly. He’s willing to take that shot because his competitive nature drives him to bury the enemy team six feet under. That’s what will always separate LeBron from the greats.

  55. Yes, there’s a problem with sample size, specifically the three-year window. That’s *just* far back enough to catch the 2010 season, when Kobe was admittedly pretty much automatic, at least during the regular season (6-9 regular season, 0-2 playoffs). If you roll the time frame back a few more years, Kobe starts looking not quite so shiny. Using the same criteria, he was 1-5 in 2009, 1-3 in 2008, 1-9 in 2007 (ouch!), 3-13 in 2006…

  56. Melo all day in the clutch, look up even further and you can see that Meloman is a beast when in the clutch. look up the last 5 to 8 years and you can still see who really is the best in the clutch Melo wins that easily!

  57. Another KOBE clutch shot to add to the list

  58. how about with the weak double team, lebron slpit that earlier in the game and drove to the basket. he could have done the same thing in this situation with the game on the line, but he didnt because hes a pussy and scared to do it. if u wanna be a great, you have to have confidence. lebron doesnt AT ALL! but really the only stat that matters with kobe and lebron is. kobe 5 rings> lebron 0 rings. oh and also, anyone remember lebrons horrific chocking job last year in the finals? :) cause i know i sure do especially that game with 8, 8 point!!!!!

  59. i’m slow, but can somebody break down this chart for me. is the field goal % listed above during clutch time or is it period. forgive me for being slow, i’m just trying to understand something.

  60. I thought 5 seconds was awfully narrow, not all “crunch time” shots are taken only in the last 5 seconds of a game. Check the stats in the last minute of a game, maybe they are more enlightening? Seems like the guys you’d pick off the top of your head are all there at the top of the list.

  61. this is not even close to being accurate. Look at these two websites, they have a more accurate chart.

  62. Also and lebron is not 0-11 under 5 secs since 2000-2001 season.
    these two videos proves this articles just bias


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