Cavs Analyst: LeBron James Already Gassed

The Cavs survived the Pacers, but the series took its toll on James

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
April 30, 2018 - 9:35 am

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LeBron James has played in seven-game thrillers. It’s just that usually they don’t come in the first round.

No matter. James scored 45 points – to go along with nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals – to save Cleveland’s season Sunday, as the Cavs held off the Indiana Pacers, 105-101, in Game 7.

James played 43 minutes Sunday – and is averaging 41.1 minutes in the playoffs. He also averaged 34.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists against Indiana, almost single-handedly leading them to the second round.

This doesn’t bode well for James’ long-term prospects in Cleveland.

“Anybody outside of Cleveland does not think he’s staying in Cleveland,” Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan host Anthony Lima said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “And so, it’s hard to do a show in Cleveland and try to explain that. I think fans do (realize that). They’re not stupid. They understand that LeBron has left two disappointing teams or teams that have been capped out in the past, and why would it be any differently this time around? So the hope is that the Cavs continue to win and that he has some confidence – some semblance of confidence – in not only the team, the players he’s playing with right now, but also the organization.”

Tristan Thompson scored 15 points in Game 7. No other Cav came within 30 points of James.

“I think the draft pick is the one hope,” Lima said. “The hope is that they get lucky once again in the draft and the pick – which the odds right now have it around eight or nine – the hope is that they get lucky and get in the top three in the lottery. As far as the talent that’s there right now, I’m not seeing a hope, especially compared to what they had before with an All-Star, Kevin Love, who was playing like an All-Star before, and Kyrie Irving, who was obviously a player who could go into any series and be the best player on either team in certain games. He did that against the Warriors.”

Irving, of course, requested a trade last offseason and was shipped to Boston. Love, meanwhile, averaged 11.4 points and 9.3 rebounds against Indiana – a far cry from the numbers he put up in Minnesota (and his first couple of seasons with the Cavs).

“They don’t have that anymore,” Lima said. “They don’t have a Kyrie Irving. They don’t have a Kevin Love that’s anywhere remotely towards the top of the heap in the NBA. And so, is LeBron going to want to be gassed in a first-round series against teams like the Indiana Pacers in seven games?  You never hear him talk about that. You never hear that. He has the mental edge, the physical edge, over everybody in this league, and he’s openly admitting that, man, he’s been taxed already in the first two-and-a-half weeks of the playoffs – and these playoffs go two months.”

Up next for James and the Cavs? A second-round series with No. 1 Toronto, which beat the Wizards in six. Game 1 is Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.