Did LeBron James and the Cavaliers Just Right the Ship by Beating Up on the Celtics?
Prior to the Cleveland Cavaliers game against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, LeBron James went out of his way to say that the game was not that big of a deal to him. Yes, the Cavaliers and Celtics are currently fighting for the top spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, and yes, the Celtics are considered to be one of the Cavs’ biggest threats in the postseason. But LeBron refused to take the bait when reporters asked him about the importance of the regular season game against Boston and said that he doesn’t put too much stock into regular season games. He actually sounded uninterested and bored by the idea of even playing the “big” game.
There was nothing uninteresting or boring about the Cavs’ performance against the Celtics, though. LeBron scored 36 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out six assists during an absolute beatdown in Boston. The Cavs won 114-91, but the final score actually made the game seem a little bit closer than it actually was. The Celtics were never really in the game after the first quarter, and the Cavaliers looked every bit as good as people expect them to be every time they take the court.
Does it mean the Cavs have turned the corner and started to make their first real push towards the playoffs? LeBron may not have been psyched to talk about the game against the Celtics before it started, but he sure made it sound like that afterwards. “Just trying to get our team right going down the stretch brings out the best in me,” he said. “We knew we were coming to a hostile building tonight and just wanted to try and play our game…and we did that.”
The Cavs certainly did, and they sent a message to the rest of the league in the process. They may have looked vulnerable in past weeks, and they may have struggled on the defensive side of the ball. But when the Cavs play the way they played last night, they’re going to be a tough team to stop. And LeBron sounds excited to keep it going, even though it’s still just the regular season. “Only time will tell,” he said. “But we played Cavs basketball tonight, and when we do that, we’re a pretty good team. So we’ve got four more games left and we can see how we can finish the season off.”
Judging by what we all saw last night, the rest of the league is officially on notice.