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Brad Stevens says LeBron James’ shooting is overlooked now

LeBron James

Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James has been on a tear this postseason, as most hoops fans know. The Kid from Akron, now in his 15th season of NBA service, has recorded six 40-point games in these playoffs — the most in a single postseason since Allen Iverson in 2001. Only Jerry West (eight in 1965) and Michael Jordan (seven in 1989) have more.

Currently, James and the Cavs are tied with the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals at two games apiece. Exactly how Celtics head coach Brad Stevens plans to limit James’ production in Game 5 was a topic of discussion after Wednesday morning’s shootaround.

In a radio interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub, coach Stevens noted that switching on James in pick-and-roll scenarios is a touchy situation, emphasizing floor placement as a determining factor.

“The thing that people don’t talk about is how good he’s shot over the years — and that’s taking out going under (a set screen), which probably 3-4 years ago was probably a primary option with most teams.”

James’ numbers in these playoffs are off the charts. Through his first 15 games of this postseason, the King has racked up averages of 33.7 points (NBA-high) on 55.0 percent shooting from the field (32.0 percent from beyond the arc), 9.0 assists, 8.7 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks in 40.6 minutes per.

Going under a screen set for James is not the best idea, as you might expect. In fact, he’s likely to dot your proverbial eye — a fact coach Stevens touched on during his interview.

Via Jared Weiss of The Athletic:

“I will say this,” coach Stevens continued. “I talked about his shooting. The improvement of his shooting has really taken going under pick-and-rolls out as an option over time. He’s as smart of a basketball player as I’ve ever seen.”

Wednesday night’s Game 5 matchup is set to tip inside TD Garden at 8:30 p.m. EST with ESPN having live broadcast coverage. It’s a best of three now. Let’s see which team wants it more.

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