NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: LeBron seeking new narrative with this Cavs team — The wait to return to the NBA Finals for the Cavaliers is over, and it seemed even longer than it was. LeBron James took the Cavs to the 2007 Finals, where they were swept by the Spurs and admittedly weren’t ready in any way to challenge for a championship. Then LeBron went to Miami three years later, won a pair of titles and left the Cavs in a rut. Have things changed much since then? Well, the Cavs will once again be the underdog in the Finals, as they were against the Spurs, but LeBron likes the latest version to offer a lot more resistance. Bud Shaw of the Northeast Ohio Media Group has more:
LeBron James understandably jumped into Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ arms that night in 2007, then climbed atop the scorer’s table. Austin Carr wept. Strangers hugged in the concourse.
Mike Brown stood at center court on a night much like the one that unfolded Tuesday at the Q, saying of the matchup with Gregg Popovich and the Spurs, “I’m in it to win it.”
This time, James was happy for sure, but also more subdued. David Blatt wasn’t nearly as bold as was Brown.
“We’re in Cleveland, nothing is easy here,” Blatt told TNT’s Ernie Johnson.
This time, though, the Cavs in it to win it is a narrative that might even be true.
They are 12-2 in the post season, winners of seven straight since James hit a corner buzzer beater in Game 4 against Chicago.
They swept a 60-win team in a series-clinching rout. They made the Hawks look like the Spurs made the Cavs look in 2007. As if they didn’t belong.
James was 22 when he vanquished the Pistons in a much tougher series. He’s 30 now. For five consecutive years, he’s treated the NBA Finals like a time share, showing up every June and twice putting up his feet as if he owned the place.
If it’s Golden State this time around, as we expect it will be, James isn’t going in early to visit wine country. This is happening sooner than he thought before the midseason makeover. But nothing about this is especially surprising.
Another title puts him halfway to Michael Jordan. More importantly — and I believe it is for him — a NBA title ends a half century drought in a city that once cursed him.
There are so many themes involved in what’s to come. Happy to be there isn’t one of them.
Good for James that he has a much better supporting cast, even without Kevin Love and with Kyrie Irving hobbled, though we suspect Irving will need to have two pretty good legs under him for the Cavs to win.
Against San Antonio, the Cavs scored 76, 92, 72 and 82 points. This Cavaliers’ team can score 10 different ways. (Eleven if it’s safe to now count the Tristan Thompson rebound, and stepback buzzer beater from 18 feet).