(Reuters) – Danny Green’s three-point attempt at the end of Game Five of the NBA Finals that would have given the Los Angeles Lakers the lead and possibly the championship was the right play, LeBron James said on Friday.
Trailing by one point with 10 seconds remaining, James drove to the basket and drew two Miami Heat defenders.
Instead of attempting a shot himself, James passed the ball to Green who couldn’t catch it cleanly, forcing him to dribble once before taking the shot, which fell short.
The Lakers got the rebound but turned the ball over on an errant pass and never threatened again as the Heat went on to claim a 111-108 victory and cut the Lakers lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.
“I was able to draw two defenders below the free throw line and find one of our shooters at the top of the key for a wide open three to win a championship,” James said.
“I trusted him and it just didn’t go. You live with it. It’s one of the best shots that we could have gotten in that fourth quarter, especially down the stretch with two guys on me.
“Danny had a hell of a look, it just didn’t go down. I know he wishes he could have it again. I wish I could make a better pass. But you just live with it.”
The miss capped a thrilling game that saw seven lead changes in the final three minutes as James (40 points, 13 rebounds) dueled with the Heat’s Jimmy Butler (35 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists).
The Lakers will look to close out the series on Sunday while the Heat will try to force a Game Seven as they try to become only the second team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in NBA Finals history.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; editing by Richard Pullin)