When you look at the basic stat line, LeBron James had a great game with 19 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists. Look a little further, and you see that LeBron’s game wasn’t all that great at all.
“I have to be better,” James said. “I wasn’t that good tonight so I have to be much better.”
LeBron had six big giveaways, upping his average this postseason to a career high 5.0 turnovers per game. That’s right, James now has 25 turnovers in just five playoff games. On top of that, James also had a plus/minus of -11 in his 42 minutes, something he’s not used to. The Cavs, and LeBron, know they can’t win with these kinds of numbers.
“I think I may have to change my mindset a little big obviously with Kev being out, said James after the game. “It’s something we all haven’t been accustomed to this year with him being out for an extensive period or another of the Big Three being out for a long period of time since I have my injuries. It might be a different mindset for myself and Kyrie (Irving).”
Many times during the week, Cavs players said they had to elevate their game play without J.R. Smith for Games 1 and 2 and Kevin Love for the rest of the playoffs. That goes for the star players as well as the role players.
James shot 9-22 for 19 points, Kyrie Irving puts up 30 points and six assists on 10-23 shooting, and Iman Shumpert scored 22 points on 8-17 shooting. These three will have to step up for Game 2 and can’t shoot a combined 27-62 (43.5%) again.
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“For me that’s an off game just from the standpoint I’m a very efficient player as far as my shooting, and to be 9-of-22, that’s unacceptable. Offensively, as far as shooting, I was not efficient enough.”
In most Game 1’s, LeBron James usually refers to it as the “feel-out” game and one that will help the Cavs make adjustments as the series progresses. The playoffs are all about adjustments and Cleveland has to focus on one team.
“I’ve never gone into a game saying, “Okay, I’m goign to be ultra aggressive.'” said James. I’ve always had to feel out things, but last night it was a little bit too much fell out., I only had two shots at one point [in the first quarter]. I was just not as aggressive offensively as I was defensively. We’ll see.”
We will see on Wednesday night in what feels like a ‘must-win’ Game 2.