LeBron James took his first shot 16 seconds into Game 2, roughly nine-and-a-half minutes earlier than Game 1. That was a sign, a clear indication that the Indiana Pacers’ series-opening blowout victory got his attention.
As a general rule, opponents should try to avoid getting James’ attention.authentic nfl jerseys cheap
Following that opening bucket, James assumed custody of the early proceedings, scoring 16 straight to open the game for Cleveland and finishing the opening period with 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting. On the night, he put up 46 points on 17-of-24 shooting, 12 rebounds and five assists, carrying the Cavs to a 100-97 victory.
It was enough to make you wonder why James doesn’t do this all the time.
That’s how James and this season’s Cavs have operated, though. Nothing is ever easy…until it looks incredibly easy. And then right around the time you ask yourself how Cleveland ever loses when it can play the James card, something flips.
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And you’re left wondering how it ever won.
The Pacers fought gamely, pushing the pace and forcing the Cavs to defend in transition, something they’ve stunk at all season. Indiana doubled up Cleveland in paint scoring, 62-30, and nearly did the same in fast-break points, 15-8.
Even with Victor Oladipo fighting foul trouble early, Indy spent most of the second half within single digits. If not for James’ early blitz, Cleveland could easily have lost Wednesday.
Heading to Indiana with a 1-1 split, the Cavaliers should feel both encouraged and vulnerable.cheap nfl jerseys
As great as James was, Cleveland never solved Oladipo. He attacked downhill whenever the Cavs’ roll-man defender dropped, just like he did against switches, traps and any other defensive scheme he saw. And the look he missed, a wide-open three with under 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter that would have tied the game, could have changed everything.
“We got lucky,” James said on the TNT broadcast afterward. “We gave up a wide-open three to Oladipo, and he missed it. … cheap nfl authentic jerseys That’s easily something he can make.”
Imagine if that triple had gone down. Imagine if head coach Nate McMillan, in an overabunance of caution, hadn’t sat Oladipo with two fouls a mere 62 seconds into the game. Imagine if, somehow, the Cavs had lost a contest in which James was a demi-god stalking the earth in search of mortals to punish.cheap authentic nfl jerseys