The Cleveland Cavaliers dropped the third game of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Boston Celtics, and it was primarily due to LeBron James.
Contrary to popular belief, LeBron is a human being. He’s not perfect. On Sunday night, he failed to show up against the Celtics and Cleveland blew a 21-point lead before losing 111-108 on Avery Bradley‘s buzzer-beater. Twitter continues to debate Michael Jordan and James as the greatest of all time, and this was a not-so-good look for LeBron. Regardless, it happens to everyone.
“Me, personally, I didn’t have it. My teammates did a great job of keeping us in the game and building that lead, but me, personally, I didn’t have it. That’s all I’ve got to say about my performance.”
Also Read: Projecting the Next Wave of NBA MVPs
It was the worst we’ve seen him play in a very long time. Since Klay Thompson thought James got his feelings hurt in last year’s Finals, every postseason game has been a spectacle. In 45 minutes, LeBron registered just 11 points, six rebounds, six assists, six turnovers and shot a dreadful 4-of-13 from the field. Heading into the game, James was playing completely out of his mind: 34.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.5 blocks while shooting 56.9 percent overall and 45.8 from three.
Not overreacting is crucial during the playoffs. I learned this after the Houston Rockets whooped San Antonio by 39 in their series opener. Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love all had outstanding nights. Irving led all scorers with 29 on 10-of-15 and Love was scorching hot from three, made 7-of-13 and finished with 28. Thompson was also very impressive and went for 18 points and 13 rebounds — here’s the best part: he made 12 of his 15 free throws.
In addition to James not playing well, Boston made shots that they didn’t make in the first two games. And their defense finally showed some willingness to slow him down. Will they sustain this level of play? That remains to be seen, but a come-from-behind victory of that magnitude has to do something for Boston’s confidence.
Start a conversation with me on Twitter