Cleveland Cavaliers star forward LeBron James was happy to have passed the Eastern Conference finals with a 79-87 win over the Boston Celtics in the deciding seventh game and to have met the goal of get back to the NBA Finals, the eighth time in a row.
James got it four times in a row with the Miami Heat and now has four with the Cavaliers, with a combination of three league titles in the seven previous appearances.
While playing with the Heat team was always the favorite to get the title, with the Cavaliers the opposite has happened and only once the forecasts broke, thanks precisely to his genius in the duel against the Golden State Warriors .
“We are prepared to live again the same experience of not being favorites to get the title, but it is something that does not worry me at all,” said James. “The goal was to be in the fight for another title and we achieved it.”
James, who returned to be decisive with his contribution of a double-double of 35 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists and eight turnovers, facet of the game he recognized must take care when the Finals matches arrive, he knows more than anyone that in the fight for the title everything can happen.
“We have the opportunity to play the Finals again, no matter what the final result may be,” said James. “Much less that we worry if we leave as favorites or not to get the title.”
His rival will be the champion of the Western Conference, which on Monday will be decided when in the seventh game of the series that is tied at 3-3, the Houston Rockets face in their field of Toyota Center, before the Warriors of Golden State, current NBA champions and executioners last year of the Cavaliers.
“I think they are facing the wrong player when it comes to asking that question about the team that comes out as a favorite,” James argued. “The only thing that worries me is going out on the field and competing.”
That was what he did during all seven games, including the decisive one in which he personally asked Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue to let him play the 48 minutes.
“My job was to see how the rest of the players’ minutes could fit in so that the team was always compensated,” explained Lue. “We are simply facing the best player in the world.”
Lue also acknowledged that the entire team responded with maximum effort in support of his teammate power forward Kevin Love, who could not play for being under the protocol of the concussion, to give him the opportunity to continue in the competition.
“Everyone grew up and they got Love to have the opportunity to compete again in the NBA Finals,” said Lue, who especially highlighted forward Jeff Green, who came out at Love’s position and got a contribution of 19 points and eight rebounds.
Green said he was excited about the support he received from all the teammates and that made him feel comfortable throughout the game.
“I was aware of the responsibility I had and together with my teammates we did the things that helped the team get the victory by giving James the support he needed,” said Green. “Now to think about the Finals with the conviction that we can also fight for victory.”
The mission will be much more complicated than facing a team that lacked the two franchise players, but within the Cavaliers admitted that while the “King” James is in full form, everything is possible, including winning a title of league as they already achieved in 2016.