LeBron James trying to instill ‘sense of calmness’ ahead of Game 5
LeBron James says he’s doing his best to instill a “sense of calmness” in his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates ahead of a Game 5 showdown with the Toronto Raptors that has taken on incredible significance after the team lost two on the road to even up the Eastern Conference Finals.
The unstoppable Cavaliers stormed out to a 2-0 series lead by throttling the Raptors at home. Before heading to Toronto for Games 3 and 4 over the weekend, the Cavs were 10-0 this NBA postseason, with two series sweeps in hand and a commanding lead over the seemingly helpless Raptors. In fact, the way the Cavaliers have run roughshod over the competition in the playoffs, many assumed the Raptors were finished for all intents and purposes.
But the story line quickly switched, spawned by a change of scenery. Now the Cavaliers must reestablish control of the series with a win on their home court Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
And all James — far and above the player with the most postseason experience on the Cavaliers — is imploring his teammates to remain calm, as panic is not an option.
“Just a very calm moment for myself, personally,” said James, via cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon. “I relish this opportunity to be a part of the postseason once again, to be 2-2 on my home floor, so, a sense of calmness. I think they’ll follow that.”
James is 6-6 in his career in Game 5s when a series is tied at two apiece, so there’s not a historical precedent to help predict how he and the Cavaliers will fare on Wednesday night. But it is worth noting that James has stepped up his game in these situations, averaging 32.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 6.8 assists. He’s also recorded three games in which he’s recorded 40 points.
But most importantly — as he has done throughout the regular season and on multiple occasions during the postseason — James stresses that he and his teammates have to keep their collective eyes on the prize.
“We want to come out with the mindset and the understanding of how important this game is to both teams and have a sense of urgency from the beginning,” he said.
James said earlier in the series that his team would be prepared when adversity arrived. Wednesday’s Game 5 will go a long way in determining if he’s right.