Why Clutch Is Overrated
Who said LeBron James isn’t clutch? In the fourth quarter of last night’s loss to the Boston Celtics, he went 4-of-7 from the field for 11 points, carrying the Heat while the rest of the team went 1-of-15 for seven points.
Whoops, I lied. That wasn’t the fourth quarter. It was the second quarter. In fact, James actually put up just four shots for the final 8:10 of the game, leading most of sports media to once again question his so-called “clutchness.” But the fact that I lied isn’t important. What’s important is: Did the fact that I lied in the first paragraph matter? Is there any reason to think that the fourth quarter is really more important than the second?
Read more. [Image: AP]
“The only difference between two points scored at 8:30 in the second quarter and two points scored at 0:01 in the fourth quarter is the significance we attribute to it.”
I don’t think so. The difference is that basketball games are limited by time, which add stakes and pressure to the game - much more so than the second quarter. There’s less time to rally from a deficit and increased pressure to score. Players and teams also up their game in the 4th: coaches use all their timeouts, keep in their stars they would have rested in the 2nd. And also while I personally think clutchness overrides stats about clutchness, Bronbron’s stats in clutch situations has been poor nonetheless.