After a rather forgettable 7-10 March, the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers have a new proverbial spring in their step in April.
Following a trio of much-needed victories against the always stubborn Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, and Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland rolls into Beantown to face the hard-charging Boston Celtics with the top seed in the Eastern Conference at stake.
With both teams having identical 50-27 records and at full strength, this is the type of game in which LeBron James usually shines his brightest.
Just when you—as well as the so-called national media and “experts” always seem to come down their hardest on LeBron James or the Cleveland Cavaliers, they respond in kind.
Look no further than when they rallied against the 73-win media-ordained Golden State Warriors, or when LeBron—as a member of that team from South Beach in 2012—went into Boston Garden down 3-2, only to drop 45 points and 15 rebounds on the Celtics in Game 6 of the East Finals—scarily similar feel going into tonight’s game—en route to a 4-3 series win and his first NBA title.
For all of their glorious and storied history, a who’s who of NBA legends and 17 title banners, if there is any one player who makes even the late Red Auerbach cringe and seemingly turns their fabled parquet floor into his own personal playground, it is The King.
3-2 against the Celtics in five career postseason series meetings, two wins with the Heat, one with the Cavaliers and two losses both with Cleveland in his first go-around, James has averaged close to 30 points (28.1) and 8.8 rebounds in 25 post-season games prior to Cleveland sweeping Boston in 2015.
James averages 29.8 points against the Celtics, the most against any team in his career.
Perhaps it is just seeing that fabled Boston green that makes him channel his inner Hulk vs. the C’s, but know that LBJ is going to be in the mindset of this being Game 7 vs. Golden State all over again.
For James, it’s personal against Boston, and for the Cavaliers, it’s a chance to shut up the doubters, haters, and naysayers who were crowing prematurely over their so-called demise in March.
Titles are won in June, not March or April. LeBron and the Cavaliers know this as well as what’s at stake.
Bet against an LBJ-led Cleveland Cavaliers team at your own peril, but know that the King will lead his Cavaliers once again to glory when it matters most.