LeBron James’ supporting cast is the worst of his career
LeBron James has been forced to do all the heavy lifting for the Cleveland Cavaliers coming into the first round of this year’s playoff run.
After suffering a resounding 98-80 home loss in Game 1, James responded the only way he’s known how — putting the entire team on his back and outscoring the Indiana Pacers all on his own with 20 points in the first quarter.
While the Cavs boasted a healthy 33-18 lead in the first, it meant little down the stretch in a game that they nearly lost, barely managing to edge the Pacers 100-97 to salvage a win to tie the series at 1-1.
Yet a huge reason for the team’s struggle has been the atrocious support James has had during these two games. The King has scored 70 points through two games, that’s 46 more points than his running mate Kevin Love, with 24 points.
Love and the next four leading scorers after him (Kyle Korver, Jordan Clarkson, Jeff Green, and Rodney Hood) are shooting a dismal 22-of-68 (32.4 percent) from the floor between them.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, James has scored or assisted in 62 percent of Cleveland’s buckets — more than his career-best in a memorable 2009 playoffs.
The Cavs are the oldest and the most expensive team entering this year’s playoffs, and they ranked 29th in the league in defensive efficiency — a reason for alarming concern for any team not possessing a game-changer like James.
“The supporting cast needs to rally or face a dubious distinction of being the weakest in James’ 13 career playoff runs,” wrote Windhorst. “It’s not a conclusion the Cavs want James to come to as he approaches another free agency, especially considering this roster is costing $190 million, including luxury tax.”
It’s still early in the series and there’s a chance that this core can bounce back and turn things around, but getting to The Finals by back-packing his entire team on his broad shoulders won’t convince James to stay this summer, no matter what crazy trades the front office can pull off, as ultimately it’s the play on the court that will make all the talking.