The regular season is over, and now that the Cavs are in the playoffs, they’ll start their new season Sunday against the seventh seeded Boston Celtics.
During an interview Thursday, LeBron James was asked if a different player arises for the post-season.
After a slight pause, James smiled and responded with:
“Ask my teammates come Sunday.”
James was then asked what the different was between the regular season and the playoffs that allows him to flip the switch no matter who their opponent is.
“You just have more time to prep,” James said. “There are so many games in the regular season that you can’t give all of your time to just one opponent because you have four (games) in five nights and back-to-backs you have to get ready for the next night.
“(Now) you have at least four times that you are going to see the one opponent. There are not many different sets that you’re going to see. You see the same personnel and I am able to lock in on tendencies a lot more. I am able to lock in on what they want to do. What they don’t want to do. Then I relay that back to my teammates, so it is a totally different mindset for myself.”
In his career, James has 158 playoff games, five Eastern Conference Championships, two Championship rings to go along with a pair of NBA Finals MVP awards. James will appear in his 10th consecutive postseason, and will have played the Celtics in five of those 10 postseasons after this upcoming series. After getting eliminated by the Celtics twice in a three-year span, LeBron defeated the Celtics twice in Miami.
Now LeBron has another chance to beat the Celtics in a playoff series for only the second time in Cavalier history, the first coming in a 4-3 series victory back in 1991-92.
One person who knows what LeBron can do firsthand is former rival and now current teammate Kendrick Perkins.
“He is a beast,” Perkins said of the difference between playoff and regular season James. “You know, you try to scout, you try to game plan, but there ain’t nothing you can do. There ain’t (expletive) that you can do.
”When you are playing against a guy like LeBron you just hope that you can cancel his supporting cast out,” he added. “If you can take that away – because he is going to get his – then you’ve done your job.”
Perkins was on the team that eliminated James twice in in 2007-08 and 2009-10, while also playing on the Thunder team that lost to James’ Heat in the NBA Finals of 2012.
“He is just a better leader now. You can tell he grew a lot. Just his whole mindset,” he said. “From what I’ve seen over this last month and a half that I’ve been here, he is a guy who is willing to bring guys along, the guys who are willing to come along, that’s part of being the good leader.
“Even when things are going bad for himself at times throughout the game – which probably actually never happens – he don’t show it. He keeps being the same guy and that’s what you got to be. If you come in one day and have a different attitude when things aren’t going you way, then guys look at you all crazy when you tell them something. So, you have to make sure you keep that right mindset at all times.”
Perkins, the Cavs, and all of Cleveland fully expect LeBron James to turn into a different beast and lead the way for the city’s first championship in a half-century (excluding Ohio State’s Football State Championship).