Despite trailing by as many as 26 points to the Indiana Pacers in Game 3, including 25 at halftime, the Cleveland Cavaliers came storming back to secure a victory and 3-0 series lead.
And it was, not surprisingly, all thanks to LeBron James. And head coach Tyronn Lue didn’t try to hide that, per ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin:
“LeBron willed us home, 41, 12 and 13, played the whole second half,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “That’s what playoff basketball is all about. You got to be willing to sacrifice and lay it on the line to win a game, and that’s what he did for us.”
James was simply magnificent in the second half, tallying 27 points, six rebounds and seven assists while playing all 24 minutes. He reached the rim at will, to the point it seemed like the seas were parting for him every time he drove. He also shot 4-of-8 from beyond the arc and 9-of-16 overall.
Again, all in the second half.
It’s safe to say, then, that LeBron has flipped his playoff switch, and the Cavaliers are lucky he did. The rest of the team hasn’t followed suit. The defense is still suspect on a good night, and Lue didn’t even play Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love 10 minutes apiece in that second half.
Luckily for the Cavaliers, LeBron continues to transcend all postseason drama. The Pacers are done, and so long as their best player also happens to be the greatest in the world, it’s tough to imagine the Cavaliers not coming out of the Eastern Conference, shoddy defensive stands be damned.