One in every of LeBron James‘ best strengths as a basketball participant is his uncanny capability to distribute the ball and make his teammates higher. The truth is, he’s typically unselfish to a fault, in response to a sure subset of his detractors. You might recall that, early in his profession, he was usually criticized for passing up huge pictures in clutch moments.
LeBron is going through an identical incarnation of that critique after the Cavs’ abysmal loss in Recreation 1 in opposition to the Indiana Pacers over the weekend. Solely this time, it’s coming instantly from his head coach, Tyronn Lue.
Regardless of the loss, LeBron led the Cavs with an enormous triple double — 24 factors, 12 assists, 10 rebounds — however his first shot try didn’t come till the top of the primary quarter after the Pacers had already raced out to 17-point lead. Lue is difficult LeBron to come back out weapons blazing from the opening tip in Recreation 2 on Wednesday.
Through Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“He needs to be aggressive and set the tone early,” Lue stated Monday. “We talked about that right this moment … being aggressive early, setting the tone, particularly for these new guys, bringing these guys alongside. He understood that, however as soon as once more, he’s at all times a man making an attempt to get his teammates off early, get them guys going, then attempt to really feel the sport out. However be able to set a tone.”
LeBron’s early efforts to get his teammates concerned had been basically all for naught. Solely two different gamers — J.R. Smith and Larry Nance Jr. — completed in double figures for the sport, and the crew as an entire shot simply 38 p.c from the sphere, together with a frosty 23 p.c from downtown.
Nonetheless, LeBron isn’t sweating it. As he informed reporters after the sport, being down 1-Zero in an opening-round sequence isn’t a lot to get labored up about given how he and the Cavs overcome a historic Three-1 deficit to beat the Warriors and win the title in 2016.
Nonetheless, there’s lots using on these playoffs for the group as they’ll little doubt largely decide LeBron’s future in Cleveland. And that future turned much more unsure on Monday when reviews emerged that the Kawhi Leonard state of affairs in San Antonio may in a roundabout way have an effect on LeBron’s decision-making as nicely.
LeBron himself is probably not feeling the strain after their Recreation 1 loss, however that’s definitely not the case for Cavs followers or the crew’s entrance workplace, who’re staring down the barrel of his potential departure as soon as once more.
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