By Brandon Easler
LeBron James has done it yet again, but this run has been a little different. His eighth straight Finals appearance will come off of his most strenuous three series in the East since 2010. This Cavs team was pushed to the brink of the elimination in the first round against the Pacers, then swept the top-seeded Raptors, and then beat a well-coached gritty Celtics team in 7 to make his eighth straight Finals appearance. LeBron finished game 7 with 35 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists, which is just another day at the office as far as stats go for LeBron. This game reminded me of an early 2000’s NBA playoff game, which consisted of a bunch of missed shots and hard-nosed defense leading to the final score of an 87-79 Cavs victory.
LeBron did it while playing without the Cavs second-best player in Kevin Love, and even though the Cavs have been better without Love on the court in this series he was their most consistent player on the road besides LeBron. Jeff Green stepped up in a big way with 19 points, and J.R., Hill, and Korver made some big shots as well. However, this game was all about the greatness of LeBron as he played all 48 minutes of a tightly contested Game 7. Even at age 33 and in his fifteenth season he just seems to keep getting better, which is just a crazy thing to think about.
People always find a way to hate on LeBron, but even the haters will miss him once he retires. The incredible blocks, triple-doubles, 40-point games are all just adding on to his legacy and will be sorely missed. Taking this team to the Finals I feel like really puts him strongly into the conversation as the best player ever in the NBA. Having to deal with different lineups the whole season has to have been crazy for James to deal with, as he tries to get everyone he plays with to gel together and know exactly where they will be on the court at all times. Players acquired at the deadline have fallen in and out of the rotation, but there has been one constant the whole season and that is LeBron.
But now comes a seemingly insurmountable task in the Finals. If the Cavs face Golden State it would not surprise me if they get swept. If they meet Houston, they might stand a chance because the Rockets are more prone to having a cold shooting night. LeBron averaged a triple-double in last years’ Finals and it still was not enough to beat the Warriors even with Kyrie Irving, and now without him LeBron might have to face almost the exact same Warriors team. It will be a tough task, but if he wins this Finals it will easily be the greatest thing any one player has ever done in NBA history in my eyes.
Follow @NbaNosebleed for more!