Latest posts by Colton Jones (see all)
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Five quick takes on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 87-79 conquest of the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night at TD Garden…
1. At this point, as opposed to asking what LeBron James can do on the basketball court, perhaps we should be asking, is there anything the guy can’t do? His 35 points on 12-of-24 shooting, 15 rebounds, nine assists and two blocked shots while playing 48 minutes is simply staggering to comprehend. The last time LeBron played every minutes of a playoff game was as a 21-year-old phenom in 2006.
2. Then, throw in James did all of the above at age 33, in his 15th NBA season, and it’s difficult to even find the words to describe what we are all, well, witnessing. Instead of worrying about next season, we all should take time to appreciate who we are seeing do what… every night, this game being James’ 100th of the season. He led the NBA in minutes played during the regular season. He’s leading the NBA in minutes played during the postseason. For what it’s worth, and this is just one guy’s opinion, he isn’t going anywhere… but that’s for another time.
3. Holding Boston, which came into the game a perfect 10-0 on its own hardwood, to 79 points in a Game 7 is just another of the big surprises in this one. Consider, in the first four decades since the NBA began tracking turnovers (1978 through 2017), no team in the bottom three of team defense won even a single playoff series. The Cavs, rated 29th of 30 teams defensively during the regular season, have now won three… this spring. “Defensively, we were very, very sharp,” James said. He, of course, played a huge part in it. According to ESPN Stats & Info, James defended a game-high 19 field-goal attempts. The Celtics went 6-19 when he was the primary defender.
4. With Kevin Love sidelined with a concussion (though he managed to get on an airplane and sit with his team, while a certain former Cavalier earth scientist was nowhere to be seen on the Boston bench — perhaps he knew what was coming?), Jeff Green (19 points on 7-of-14 shooting, 8 boards in 42 minutes), J.R. Smith (12 points, 4 rebounds in 42 minutes) and Tristan Thompson (10 points, 9 boards) all came up huge. For all the grief first-year GM Koby Altman has taken for the trade of Kyrie Irving, if he had not gone about signing Green for the NBA minimum last summer, the Cavaliers aren’t heading to the Finals.
5. Entering this series, NBA teams were only 19-281 all-time in series they lost the first two games…. now, 20-281. LeBron has been the driving force in three of those comebacks, all with the Cavaliers — the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit, the 2016 NBA Finals against Golden State and this one.