To the surprise of many, the Cleveland Cavaliers not only lost to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but were blown out by 25 points. Cleveland shot just 36% from the field and a miserable 15.4% from behind the three point line. Give Boston’s defense credit for being able to hold the Cavs to 83 points. There were a lot of shots contested by the Celtics which resulted in a miss. The problem for the Cavaliers is they weren’t making their open shots. The Cavs had a good amount of open shots and just couldn’t knock them down.
In response to being asked about how concerned he was about the blowout loss, LeBron James responded by saying, “I have zero level of concern. I never went to college. This isn’t March Madness.” LeBron is right to not be concerned at this point. Before Game 1 the Cavs averaged 35.1% from the three point line throughout the playoffs. They also averaged 10.8 makes from three point range. In other words, making four three pointers in a game is not normal for the Cavs.
LeBron James has been down 1-0 in the playoffs before, so this isn’t something new to him. They were down 1-0 to the Indiana Pacers in the first round of this year’s playoffs, but came back to win the series. LeBron knows this was a bad game for himself and the entire Cavaliers team, but he also knows it’s unlikely they’ll play that bad again. By adding the comment about himself never going to college and this not being March Madness, I can only assume LeBron meant he and the Cavs are still in it. You don’t lose once and then go home in the NBA Playoffs. Being down 1-0 does give the Cavs a little bit of a disadvantage, but it’s not over for them until the Celtics win four games.
Before last night’s game, the worst scoring game LeBron has had in the playoffs came in Game 6 of the first round against the Indiana Pacers. LeBron scored 22 points in that game. Cleveland lost that game by 34 points, so the 25 point loss to the Celtics isn’t even the worst loss this Cavs team has faced during these playoffs. The next game, LeBron scored 45 points and led the Cavs to a Game 7 victory to move on to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Don’t expect the Cavaliers to come out in Game 2 and shoot 15.4% from three point range again. Don’t expect LeBron to score only 15 points and shoot 31% from the field. Maybe he doesn’t score 40+, but he’s going to have a much better game, along with the entire Cavaliers team.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Until a team wins four games against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, I have complete faith the Cavs can come back and win the series. If the Cavs go down 2-0, I believe LeBron can lead the Cavs back. If they go down 3-1, I believe LeBron can lead the Cavs back. Pretty much any scenario where the Celtics don’t have four wins, I believe LeBron can bring the Cavs back from. LeBron is right to not have any level of concern, and those who are rooting for the Cavs shouldn’t either.