The Cavs Were Down 25 At Halftime And Won Because LeBron
Sports |  Source: usatftw.files.wordpress.com

The Cavs Were Down 25 At Halftime And Won Because LeBron

WOW.

The Cavaliers had a very bad start to their Thursday evening in Game 3 against the Pacers. It was one of those nights where you get ready to hang out with some friends, and you've got all these cool expectations, and then... oh god, someone dropped the entire case of beers, and... oh, no, something is ON FIRE WHY IS SOMETHING ON FIRE?!

Things devolved pretty quickly for the Cavs, as they fell behind the Pacers by double-digits after one quarter and by 20 points after 21 minutes.

By the end of the first half, Cleveland was trailing Indiana by 25 points, and things were looking extra glum. Like, historically glum:

BAD DEFENSE:

And the Pacers actually finished with 74 points in the first half! They added two more just to be extra insulting!

By this point, I had given up on rooting for a comeback. The game had to be over, right? A 25-point lead was undoubtedly insurmountable. Like, there was just no way. I've watched LeBron do incredible things so many times, things I never thought he could ever do, but how could he will an underperforming Cavs team to out-score the Pacers by 26 points in 24 minutes, on the road?!

Um.

Well, he did it.

The comeback, admittedly, started slowly. After pulling within 15 points halfway through the third quarter, the Pacers proceeded to stretch things back out to 20 points with just 16 minutes left to play. Not exactly a great situation.

But the Cavs kept chipping away, complete with 13 points and four assists from their main man LeBron, who was scorching all night long. He finished the game with an eye-popping stat line: 41 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists.

But the stats didn't mean anything until the Cavaliers were back in the lead, because LeBron doesn't really care about numbers scored anymore, he just wants trophies. So as the Cavs got closer and closer, he kept powering through the Pacers' defense, and then with the game tied midway through the fourth quarter, LeBron did THIS:

MY GOODNESS.

LeBron scored seven more points and notched another assist after that dunk to keep the Pacers at bay, but nothing really mattered. Because when he destroyed that hoop, he destroyed all of Indiana. The city is now a flaming pile of sad basketball fans.

So sorry, Indiana.

... oh, what's that, you need more LeBron stats from the ridiculous night? Alright, we'll give you one more to tide you over until the Cavs play again and Playoff LeBron rears his head to scare the bejeezus out of every other team:

That's right. LeBron scored 41 points, and dished out 12 assists, three of which led to three-pointers. Which means LeBron impacted 73 of the Cavs' 119 points on Thursday night, which is absolutely nuts.

We've loved the MVP race all season long between James Harden and Russell Westbrook, but... did we forget how good LeBron is?

Thanks to Thursday night, we're not about to go forgetting any time soon.

Image Alt
Sports |  Source: pickandpop.net

Don't Worry, LeBron And The Cavs Are Just Fine

It's just a flesh wound.

The NBA playoffs are just around the corner, and if you've paid attention to the conversation in basketball-talk circles over the last week, there's one topic on everyone's mind: the Cavaliers' current losing streak.

Ready for the brutal numbers? The Cavaliers... have lost three games in a row.

GASP!

Yeah. It's not actually that bad.

The bigger picture is that Cleveland has gone 8-11 since the All-Star break, and actually lost the top seed in the Eastern Conference to the Boston Celtics this past week. They're now a half game back of Boston, with a game in hand, and still ticketed for one of the top two seeds in the East.

Oh, and, uh, the teams they've lost to? Pretty good teams. Like the Clippers, the Wizards, and the Spurs, just to name a few.

They've also been playing without Kyle Korver, their best sharpshooter, for the past week, and this is all following J.R. Smith's return to action after missing a couple months with a wrist injury.

So when you slow down and think about everything going on, the whole "OH MY GOD THE CAVALIERS ARE BAD NOW" thing doesn't really make much sense. But it's 2017, and our memories are short because Snapchat, so all basketball fans are thinking right now is that LeBron's lost his magic touch.

Wrong again. LeBron, who refuses to age with the kind of resolute defiance befitting a king, is having another unthinkably impressive season. He's averaging 26 points, eight rebounds, and nearly nine assists per game, and shooting the third-highest effective field goal percentage of his career. He's not a man slowing down; if anything, he's accelerating with urgency to capitalize on the tail end of his prime.

And I know, I know: basketball is a team sport. LeBron playing great ball isn't a cure-all for mediocre team basketball. That's true, and it's worth maaaaaybe a few seconds of hand-wringing over.

But then you snap back to reality and remember that there's one player in the entire league who's been to the last six NBA Finals. And there's only one player in the league who will go down as one of the four best players in history.

And there's only one LeBron James.

The Cavs are going through a bit of an uneven patch right now, but they will be fine. It's better to get this out of the way in March rather than in the playoffs, anyway, right?

None of this will matter come playoff time, just like the Warriors' 73-9 record didn't matter when they lost to LeBron's Cavs in the Finals last year. The playoffs are a whole different world, and no one knows the playoffs better than LeBron James.

Image Alt
Sports |  Source: gannett-cdn.com

LeBron Played So Well He Wanted A Mid-Game Beer

Gotta stay hydrated!

LeBron James, as we've discussed at length many times on this website, is very good at basketball. His Cleveland Cavaliers are facing the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, a series which is entirely a formality because the Cavs are good and the Raps are not.

The two teams played Game 1 on Monday night in Cleveland, and LeBron had one heck of a night.

It began with this dunk, which... is there an athlete more impressive in the world than LeBron?

I've watched that dunk, on repeat, for 15 minutes. My answer is, no, there is not another athlete in the world more impressive than LeBron. He is, genetically, the perfect athlete. It's insane.

LeBron finished the game with 35 points on 23 shots, 10 rebounds, and four assists in 41 minutes, another incredibly dominating game from the most dominating player in the NBA. It was very fun to watch.

And, apparently, it left LeBron a little parched. Because midway through the game, he reached for a drink:

Someone needs to sit him down and remind him that beer is not a very good drink if you're trying to stay hydrated, because, you see, the alcohol in the bev--

Oh. Oh, he was making a joke.

I see.

Because this series is a joke.

Gotcha.

In that case, keep it up, LeBron! If all it takes to get you to score 35 points a night is a joke about beer during the game, I'm all the way in. I'll even hold your beer.

Image Alt
Sports |  Source: sportingnews.com

LeBron And The Cavs Are Screwed

Why Nick Saban stands in the way of The King and his fourth title.

Two things have managed to stay unbelievably consistent over the past half decade or so: the success of Nick Saban led football teams and LeBron James led basketball teams.

The two leaders of their teams are widely considered the best in their field, but they also share a connection that many people do not know about, one that may make you think twice about betting on LeBron's Cavs to win the ship this year. Take a peek at these little stats:

2011-2012: Alabama won NCAA title, LeBron won NBA Finals

2012-2013: Alabama won NCAA title, LeBron won NBA Finals

2013-2014: Alabama lost in the Sugar Bowl, LeBron lost in the Finals

2014-2015: Alabama lost in the College Football Playoff semifinals, LeBron lost in the Finals

2015-2016: Alabama won NCAA title, LeBron won NBA Finals

2016-2017: Alabama lost NCAA title game, LeBron???

LeBron James has never won an NBA championship in a year in which Alabama Football did not win the NCAA Football championship. I personally am not one to fall to deep into superstitions, but when LeBron and Bama are involved, it is hard to turn a blind eye.

However, LeBron may have caught a break as Stephen A. Smith, who has incorrectly picked each of the past six NBA Finals (all of which have featured LeBron James), picked the Warriors to win the 2017 NBA Finals.

Something has got to give with these two superstitions go head to head. Personally I think that Stephen A. has gotten so caught up in the storyline of always being wrong that a part of him wants to be wrong for a seventh consecutive year so that we can bring this up again next year. Either way, if Cleveland's Finals loss is anywhere close to as detrimental Bama's loss was on both my heart and my wallet, I will be a sad camper.

P.S. If you are an asshole like me who took the Cavs at any point during this season to win the Championship with odds below +220, which they are now, I feel for you.

Image Alt
Sports |  Source: wkyc.com

LeBron James Is Apparently Very Picky With His High Fives

LeBron and the Cavs had a good Wednesday night.

With five games left in each team's regular season, the Cavaliers and the Celtics were tied atop the Eastern Conference heading into a nationally televised showdown on Wednesday night.

Before the night was out, the Cavaliers had rightfully claimed their spot atop the East's standings with a huge win, thanks in large part to a tremendous game from LeBron James, who is still probably the best basketball player in the world.

LeBron came out with a focus like we've seen him conjure plenty of times, one very reminiscent of a certain Game 6 performance in Boston many years ago as a member of the Heat.

James tried to downplay the importance of this regular season game, but if you believed him, you're crazy: this was a playoff game to LeBron and the Cavs, and as we've said already, it seems they are (unsurprisingly) still the best team in the East by a wide margin.

Possibly the most impressive sequence of the game for James came in the first half, when he hammered home a dunk and the followed it up with this block on the other end. LeBron was so excited, he decided to high five a few fans.

He also ignored one.

I can't get over the framing of this shot. ESPN's camera people deserve legitimate awards (yes, multiple awards!) for how well this scene played out. It was so dramatic! This poor woman just wanted a high five, but what seems at first like a sure thing slowly fades into, "Oh... oh, okay, no it's cool, I'll high five you some other time..."

Thank you, LeBron. You are a gift who keeps on giving.

Image Alt
Sports |  Source: fivethirtyeight.com

Contextualizing The LeBron/Durant Comparison

Let's just let LeBron be great.

Throughout the first four games of the NBA Finals, I've been quiet.

I've sat motionless in LeBron's corner as I've watched the Cavs desperately try to stay afloat against Curry and Durant's three-point inundation. When the King's on the court, it's competitive. When not, the Dubs quicken the pace and without LeBron quarterbacking the Cavs' transition defense, all goes to hell, and Curry leads quick 7-0, 9-0 spurts.

That's one of two times when LeBron's value is most glaring - during the mini-runs the Warriors compile while LeBron sits court-side. The other is late in fourth quarters.

My archnemesis Skip Bayless has documented LeBron's tendency to settle for perimeter jumpers down the stretch. LeBron is good at everything, but he's less good at jump-shooting. So, when he resorts to turnarounds and fade-aways late in games, his efficiency suffers.

Kevin Durant, on the other hand, is a jump-shooter. Always has been. Durant's go-ahead pull-up three at the end of Game 3, along with his out-shooting LeBron in the fourth quarter of Games 1 and 2 ignited the "is this the passing of the torch?" discussion. People have started to wonder if this is Durant's league.

It's undeniable that Durant's been better late in games in this series than LeBron. He's dominated fourth quarters, hit daggers, and even buried a go-ahead three in Game 3. He's been better, sure.

But, Durant's fresher. He sits. He's sat all year. He's (somehow) not even the best defender on his team. He's (somehow) not even the best shooter on his team. Is he even the second best shooter on his team?

In the regular season, the Warriors won 14 games in a row without #35. If LeBron missed 14 games, Cleveland as a basketball city might cease to exist.

The Cavaliers need LeBron James like humans need oxygen. The Warriors need Kevin Durant like humans need sunglasses. Do sunglasses make my life easier? Sure. Takes a lot of the strain off my eyes in the summer. Could I live without sunglasses, though? Yeah, it just might be annoying for a few months every year.

Could I live without breathing? Well, no.