THE NBA FINALS, AGAIN – Never bet against LeBron James.
As George Hill knocked down a pair of free throws with 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter to ice the Eastern Conference Finals, Jeff Van Gundy hit the nail on the head, stating that James taking this set of Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals is the biggest accomplishment in his career.
He’s exactly right.
Missing Kevin Love for much of Game 6 and all of Game 7, James faced a 3-2 hole and overcame it. Not to mention, he had to go win Game 7 in the TD Garden, where the Celtics were undefeated in the postseason.
After a disappointing Game 5 by his standards (James still had a double-double), I watched many in the national media question how much James had left.
Well, they all jumped the gun.
How much does LeBron have left?
The answer will determine who gets out of the East and into the Finals. pic.twitter.com/1wue1xi6x9
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) May 24, 2018
James put the Cavaliers on his back and took over in both Games 6 and 7 when it mattered.
While it’s fair to point out that the Celtics were without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, you have to remember that Boston’s big core of Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart were all first round picks. Tatum, Horford and Brown all went top 3.
James? He was joined by Jeff Green, George Hill, Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith in the starting lineup. You’d take the Celtics’ talent over Cleveland’s (minus LeBron) any day of the week.
Ty Lue played eight guys and two didn’t even play 10 minutes. It was a rag-tag group to say the least.
"We've been counted out for a long time this season."
LeBron James is determined. (Via ESPN) pic.twitter.com/4W2DoGbL0X
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 28, 2018
But the biggest takeaway Sunday was that LeBron is in his 15th season, was playing in his 100th game of the season and played all 48 minutes. FORTY-EIGHT MINUTES!
And now he’s in his eighth straight NBA Finals. Yes, you read that right. James will play for the title for an eighth consecutive year.
Will James and his Cavaliers beat whoever comes out of the West? Probably not. He certainly won’t have the better team.
However, like Lue said after Sunday’s win, whenever you have the best player in the work you have a shot.
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Enjoying Riding The Rails so far? Here’s Episode 7, which features Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders southpaw Josh Rogers. Rogers is college friends with Terry Rozier, but is a huge LeBron James fan.