LeBron James says Cavs will be ready for adversity when it comes
It hardly seems possible at this point as the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to run roughshod over the NBA Playoffs that the team will face any significant adversity anytime soon. But LeBron James insisted the team will be tested eventually and when that happens, the Cavaliers will be ready.
“And we will face some adversity,” James said, via cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon. “We will. And we have to be able to handle that, which I think we’ll be ready for.”
Said adversity certainly didn’t arrive Tuesday night as the Cavaliers throttled the Toronto Raptors by a score of 115-84 to take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. James was an unstoppable force in the game, scoring 24 points, shooting 11 of 13 (84.6 percent) from the field, mostly on dunks and layups.
The victory marked the ninth straight win for the Cavaliers in the postseason following series sweeps of the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks, becoming only the fifth team in NBA history to start the playoffs 9-0.
Still, James recognizes that things seemingly can’t continue as they have up to this point. In regard to adversity, the Raptors have faced it on occasion this postseason, as evidenced by how the team had to go seven games in each of their first two series to reach the conference finals.
Between the fact the Raptors are battle-tested and how Dwane Casey insists that his players thrive on people doubting them, it’s certainly feasible that Toronto will figure out a way to make it a series to some extent.
But until then, James is doing his best to guard against overconfidence — as he’s done throughout the postseason (for the most part) — by making sure the Cavaliers keep their collective eyes on the prize.
“I don’t think we have complacency on our minds right now,” James responded. “We have a goal, and our goal was not nine wins. It’s just not my focus. I’ve won nine games in the postseason before, won 14 games in the postseason before. And as the leader of this team, I’m going to continue to make sure that these guys understand what our goal is, and they know.”
James clearly expects a response from the Raptors and he’s not going to do anything to give the opponent anything to motivate them. That much is clear.
But does that mean the Raptors are going to be able to do what James expects? That’s the question heading into Game 2 on Thursday.