Cavs’ James confident in durability, skeptical of Finals scheduling


VIDEO: James speaks with media after shootaround

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – Had David Blatt known the first two games of the 2015 Finals would go into overtime, the Cleveland Cavaliers coach said Tuesday, he might have found more opportunities to give LeBron James a little rest.

But no Finals before this one ever required overtime for both Game 1 and Game 2. That’s how James is up to 96 minutes played out of the 106 in the series so far.

“That wasn’t necessarily in the plan,” Blatt said after his team’s shootaround session at their practice facility. “But he is strong. He has prepared himself the whole season for this time of the year. There are very few guys who can do what he did throughout the course of the year with the understanding of where he needs to be at the key moment of the season. And he’s ready to go.”


VIDEO: Blatt addresses the media on Tuesday

James talked a little about the physical preparation that he heeds in advance of games and the hurry-up of that routine now that the days between games, for each of the next two, have dwindled to just one.

“There’s not much recovery time,” James said. “I’m getting my body as close as it can to 100 percent. I still have a lot of time through today to stay on the treatment regimen I’ve been on. Try to get some rest as well. … You’ve got to cram everything in there. Hopefully the body reacts accordingly to it.”

Among the other Cavaliers, Tristan Thompson has logged 87 minutes, J.R. Smith 73 and Iman Shumpert 71. Golden State, though generally considered the deeper team, has four players at or above 80: Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, 85 each; Draymond Green 82 and Harrison Barnes 80.

When someone wondered if James might feel the energy of a crowd at Quicken Loans Arena hosting only its third Finals game ever (two in 2007), the Cavs star said: “I mean, I’m fine. I can use the energy from the home crowd, I can use the energy from the away crowd. But for me, my focus is so laser-sharp that it doesn’t matter. I don’t need something to get me to where I need to go.”

James and his teammates apparently do feel a little slighted by the schedule, which has tightened up during this period in Cleveland after an almost leisurely pace to Games 1 and 2. There was a whole week after the conference championship round before The Finals began and then two more days before Game 2.

The Thursday-Sunday-Tuesday rotation is largely set according to network TV needs, regardless of the markets involved, but James made it sound more discretionary. And not favoring Cleveland.

“I don’t need any extra motivation or no extra lift,” James said. “I looked at the schedule. They have more time in their home than we have. They gave us every other day back home. They gave those guys two-and-a-half days of rest when they go back home. But that’s the schedule, and it is what it is.”

7 Comments

  1. Mitra says:

    I am speechless to see CAVS playing so hard. Regardless of what will happen at the end of the series, LBJ and this CAVS team will definitely be remembered in the NBA history for their extra-ordinary performance in finals.

    LBJ is the only player in NBA who carries an entire mediocre team (in absence of Love and Irvine) to such a height-no one else did it before, not even Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson.

  2. on the other hand says:

    This is kind of like rest vs. rhythm and could be argued either way. To the Warriors, they might not like the schedule because they might feel doubly disadvantaged: less rest and road games.

  3. bballjunkie1 says:

    He was built 4 this. This is his moment to give back to all those vendors and their employees who havent made this extra money in years. Born raised in Oaktown, want them to win it from my heart, but if Bron, Bron pulls this off, I am not mad at him. Still wondering why a coach wasnt brought in in Miami cause that series against Dallas was winnable there were no plays for him just standing on the perimiter. I guess he saw that too and knew he could take his ball and go back home and get back 2 the finals. Some great players will never get there, and some may get there once. His story line is something. Curry will quiet the Q tonite will be fun to watch.