Old big head is up to his usual excellent work over at theScore, previewing Raptors-Cavaliers by outlining four key points the Raptors need to follow to pull off the upset.
It’s hard to resist the omnipotence of James, but even he admitted on Sunday he is tired, and the Raptors need to capitalize.
“I’m burnt right now. I’m not thinking about Toronto right now. I’m ready to go home,” James said Sunday after suffering cramps in a tight Game 7 win.
His comment should surprise no one. The Cavaliers superstar led the league in minutes per game and played all 82 regular-season contests for the first time in his career. He’s also coming off seven straight Finals appearances and he’ll only have one day off after logging 41.2 minutes per game against the Pacers.
Fatigue hasn’t worn on James on offense, as he still averaged 34.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists on 54 percent shooting in the first round, but he wasn’t himself defensively. Shaqtin’ A Fool clowned him for not even attempting to get back in transition in a two-point game in the fourth quarter of Game 3, and that one example wasn’t far from the norm. Cleveland has played at the slowest pace of any playoff team, yet Lue still hid James on Thaddeus Young (who shot 60 percent in the series) while Victor Oladipo mercilessly torched J.R. Smith.
James was utterly drained from having to carry the offense, as Indiana played him straight up and forced him to be the primary scorer. He had more isolation possessions (60) than the Raptors did as a team (45) in the first round, and quite frankly, he wasn’t even that effective, shooting 39.6 percent from the field during those possessions, despite mostly playing 1-on-1 against Bojan Bogdanovic and Lance Stephenson.