The Cavs are in a unsafe spot.
The Celtics know how much more comfortable they would be closing out at home, but James in a game seven is a different monster. Still, he was active at shootaround on Friday morning, and seemed confident heading into tonight's game. Why would that change in a potential Game 7?
The Cleveland Cavaliers could not win a pivotal road Game 5 against the Boston Celtics, as they lost 96-83 Wednesday night. If LeBron James, the greatest player in the National Basketball Association, leads his heavily favored Cavaliers over the undermanned Celtics, it will go down as one of the best accomplishments of his career? "I was still trying to make plays, put our team in position to win". "I'm pretty sure a lot of guys are exhausted during this stretch of the year".
One sign of that fatigue was a play in the opening minutes of the third quarter when James, finding himself on the perimeter in a favorable matchup against Aron Baynes, was able to easily blow by the Celtics center. "I know what's at stake the next game".
"Defensively we gave ourselves a chance", said James noting the Cavs held the Celtics to 36.5 per cent shooting.
"We've got a lot of tough guys on our team", Stevens said. "I definitely can't say it on camera", Morris told reporters. He finished 1 for 6 from 3-point range in the game; the Cavaliers made just 9 of 34 attempts from beyond the arc and shot just 42 percent overall. He played a full 82-game regular season for the first time in his career, and if the Cavaliers force a Game 7, it'll be the 100th game he will have played this season. Fatigue appears to be catching up with LeBron James after accumulating far too many minutes this season (he led the league). During timeouts, he wiped sweat and perhaps some frustration from his forehead. And no player is better when his back is against the wall than James.
James had 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Solid, but sub-par by his standards and he committed six turnovers and missed some makeable layups.
Lue inexplicably left Kyle Korver off the floor for long stretches and following the game he curiously explained that Stevens' rotation "kind of threw us for a loop".
Morris was asked after the game about what he said to Nance.
After a three-day break between Games 2 and 3, the East finals are now being played every other day, which seems to have affected other players.
Irving has been a familiar presence on the Celtics' bench during home games throughout the postseason, and teammates, especially new starting point guard Terry Rozier, have raved about the leadership and guidance he has provided behind the scenes. His body has been forced to handle more than he imagined. Throw in the fact that he almost always plays until mid-June - he's been to the NBA Finals each of the last seven seasons - and it stands to reason that at some point, fatigue would become a factor. They've been worse in the Boston series in which they are managing just 97.4 points on 44.6 percent shooting. May 25 at Quicken Loans Arena, Tyronn Lue is confident James will be rejuvenated and ready to go. He can be a free agent at season's end and will consider coming back to the Cavs as well as a host of other options. "It's up to us to see if we can come back here for one more".