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Brad Stevens on defending LeBron James: 'It's a joke'

29 May, 2018, 00:48 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • LeBron James and Jayson Tatum

LeBron logged all 48 minutes on Sunday (after putting in 46 minutes on Friday night) and extended one of the most incredible postseason runs in National Basketball Association history - leading both squads in scoring, rebounds and assists as he reached the Finals for his eighth straight season, ninth for his career.

That was especially true after the Cavs needed seven games and an epic 43-point Game 7 performance by James to beat IN in the first round. But James dropped 46 points on Friday and followed it up with an equally impressive performance on Sunday.

The Cavs were not expected to reach the finals for a fourth straight year but became the first team to win on the road in the Eastern Conference finals series and the first to beat the Celtics at home in the postseason.

James became the 13th athlete in the four major USA professional sports - the NBA, NHL, MLB and National Football League - to make it to eight straight championship series, joining seven Montreal Canadiens players and five former Celtics, according to data compiled by ESPN Stats & Information.

Also, Green has something to say about the perception surrounding James's supporting cast.

I have a hard time falling back on the 'Well, Irving and Hayward were out!' excuse when the Celts didn't need either of those two players to jump out to that 2-0 lead, regain a 3-2 series lead, and remain competitive for 40 minutes or so in Game 7.

Tristan Thompson? He took four shots, made them all. "Didn't know if we were going to make trades or not". The Las Vegas over/under on his point total for Game 7 had been 38, the highest of his career and the highest of any player ever in an elimination game.

"I thought it was an outstanding defensive game, and again, he still got 35-15-9", Stevens said. This is a team that made a franchise-changing trade last summer, remade the roster at the trade deadline, finished 29th in defensive rating in the regular season and nearly lost a seven-game series against the Indiana Pacers in the first round. "Does it at this level, with the pressure, with the scrutiny". "But more importantly, just the work that I put into it".

Horford scored 17 and Morris delivered 14 points with 12 rebounds off the bench on a night when Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier were a combined 7-for-32 from the floor for 17 points.

This was the year James' finals streak looked over.

The 6-foot-10 forward started in the place of Kevin Love (concussion) and scored 19 points. Boston led 43-39 at the half.

"I don't think he wanted to be seen", Ainge said, before joking that "he's a really good-looking guy". Rookie Jayson Tatum led the home team with 24 points, highlighted by a poster dunk on James in the fourth quarter.

"Honestly, I ignore it, because I know what our team is capable of". James would return to the Cavaliers and then take them to their first championship two seasons ago, but it's believed that the two are still not on great terms.



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