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DeShawn Stevenson claimed it appeared James "checked out" down the stretch in Game 4.
James had become perhaps the league's most-scrutinized player since last July, with the way he left the Cavs rubbing so many the wrong way. But it was rare for him to receive such criticism for what happened on the court as he did during this series.
He never got to play with another great player in Cleveland, where he eventually felt he would never be able to win a title. His lone finals appearance had ended in a sweep, and he'd never really come close again despite the Cavs' regular-season success.
So while there was ridicule over the way he did it, there was understanding why he left Cleveland, why he felt he needed better players around him.
But it also meant nothing but a title would do for James' critics, something he seemed to understand when he noted after Game 5 that he had a triple-double but it was viewed by many as a bad performance, because he did so little in the fourth quarter.
"The Greater Man upstairs know when it's my time," James tweeted. "Right now isn't the time."
And one of his biggest critics, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, fired a quick shot on Twitter, congratulating the Mavs and noting that "There are NO SHORTCUTS. NONE."
When it was over, James walked over to Wade for a hug, then shook hands with some Mavericks players. Nothing quite like the spectacle he found in this arena last summer, when the Heat hosted a pep rally to celebrate winning the free agency championship by adding James and Chris Bosh.
And that's the only crown the King gets to wear for now.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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