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Thursday, July 19, 2018

LeBron James defends his slow start to Game 1

LeBron James

LeBron James offered something of an explanation after coach Tyronn Lue singled him out for a slow start in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Lue said Monday that he wanted James to be aggressive, noting that he perhaps tried too hard to get his teammates going early. The Cavaliers had fallen behind the Pacers 25-8 before their star forward finally attempted his first field goal with 1:52 remaining in the first quarter.

“He has to be aggressive and set the tone early,” Lue said, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “We talked about that today … being aggressive early, setting the tone, especially for these new guys, bringing these guys along. He understood that, but once again, he’s always a guy trying to get his teammates off early, get them guys going, then try to feel the game out. But be ready to set a tone.”

James said he was simply reacting to the defense and finding open shots for his teammates.

“That’s just how the game was being played,” James said. “Guys had great looks and they just didn’t go down. … There was two on the ball at times. I was assisting and guys just couldn’t make shots to start the game, so it was just how the game was going on.”

James did end up with a triple-double, but the Cavaliers lost by 18 points. Cleveland will want to see him attack early more often in Game 2, though getting the owner to be quiet might also help.

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