LeBron James says he’ll be blamed if Cavs fail to overcome adversity
The Cleveland Cavaliers were losers of three of four games heading into Monday’s tilt with the Indiana Pacers. But any panic that threatened the stability of the locker room — and there appeared to be some semblance of it — was alleviated to a certain extent courtesy of a 100-96 victory.
And while the Cavs are nowhere near out of the woods, the team does remain the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a 42-17 record, making all the hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth over what ails the team arguably out of proportion.
Still, with the win in the books, the Cavaliers were able to breathe a sigh of relief. But that didn’t mean LeBron James failed to recognize that the adversity faced during the team’s recent mini-slump would not be the last they would have to deal with such obstacles heading down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs.
“This will not be the most adversity that we face,” James pointed out.
And should the Cavaliers stumble and fail to at the very least make a second-straight appearance in the NBA Finals? Well, LeBron James argued that all the blame will be put on him after first putting things in their proper perspective.
“It’s just basketball,” James said, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “At the end of the day, it’s just basketball. … You go out and you give as much as you can, you leave it all out on the floor and then be able to sleep great at night. I mean, I’ve missed game winners all the time. I turned the ball over in the postseason before. I’ve lost in the Finals. And sometimes, if that situation comes around again, hopefully you left it on the floor. That’s all you can do.
“I mean, it shouldn’t be much pressure, I don’t think. I’m going to get the blame anyways.”
James probably is right to a certain extent. He is the ringleader of the entire operation, after all, serving as the organization’s de facto player-coach-general manager in essence if not in name.
Interestingly, one could reasonably surmise from his comments that instead of them being solely self-pitying in nature, perhaps he’s also trying to shield his less experienced and savvy teammates from any blame in the process.
Either way, it’s “NBA Finals or Bust” at the very least for this squad. Adversity, indeed.