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Monday, May 21, 2018

Cavs Losing Series Doesn’t Equate to LeBron James Choking

It’s amazing how one game can do so much to change the tune and tone of critics everywhere. Prior to Game 5 where LeBron James recorded a triple double to extend the Eastern Conference Finals to a sixth game, many critics were already calling the Cavs a bust and LeBron a choke. Look, I’ll admit that I’ve been critical of James in the past, including mid-season when I said LeBron only had his big games against weak teams and that he didn’t show up against the top tier teams, but my eyes are open enough to see when things have changed. This postseason has completely changed my opinion of James.

The guy was an absolutely star against both the Pistons and Hawks, routinely posting triple double or near triple doubles and high point totals. He dominated games to the point where his team cruised going 8-0 prior to the series with the Magic. Just because the Magic were leading the series 3-1 and because the Cavs won the most regular season games doesn’t mean losing in the Eastern Conference Finals is underachieving. Hear me out.

The way LeBron distributes the ball he gets his team playing at a high level on a day-to-day basis, to the point where they beat all the teams they should. The Magic are more of a three-point shooting team that’s capable of beating the best, but also of losing to inferior teams on nights they go cold. Hence their inferior record to Cleveland. But if you look at things closely, you’ll see that the Magic played their best against the top competition, going 2-1 against the Cavs in the regular season and 2-0 against the Lakers. Because of their unique style of play and difficult-to-match-up-with lineup, I felt the Magic were one of the most dangerous teams in the playoffs and they’re certainly proving it.

Going back to it, LeBron earned and deserved the regular season MVP. The Cavs played high-level ball on a more consistent basis than anyone else in the regular season. But losing to the Magic is not a disappointment because I firmly believe Orlando’s the better team. In fact, if the Magic blow it, they will be the chokers — not the other way around. Lastly, although LeBron had some weak points where he committed too many turnovers the way he did in Game 4, LBJ has played at an extremely high level in the series against Orlando. The people who discount what he’s doing have grown too complacent with how special of a postseason he’s having. LeBron is bringing it this series rekindling Jerry West by scoring an average of 36 points per game, shooting 51%, and grabbing nine rebounds per game during the playoffs. It’s his teammates who are letting him down. Had Mo Williams shot as well in the first four games as he did in Game 5, this would be an entirely different series.

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