It is hard to get by without Love, unless you happen to be LeBron James, who resurrected the Cleveland Cavaliers from a two-game deficit at the beginning of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, carrying the team to a deciding game 7 against the Boston Celtics.
Playing without Keven Love, King James powered the Cavs to an 87 – 89 win over Boston to secure the first spot in the NBA Finals.
Cleveland now awaits the winner of the Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, which will be played later today.
The performance by James means that his side will be appearing in the NBA Championship Final series for the eighth consecutive season.
James has had a target painted on his back for many years. The win over Boston marked the sixth consecutive game seven victory for LeBron.
He never left the court for a moment, playing all 48 minutes of the game. He recorded 35 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists.
Eight of those nine assists by James were to himself…nah, just having a little joke at James’ expense, but going into the game without Love, it was tough to imagine whom, if anyone could take some of the load off James.
His primary spear-carrier, JR Smith, capable at times of putting up video game numbers off impossibly poor shot selections, added 12 points for Cleveland, but it was the 19 points of Jeff Green that had to suffice as the substitute for Kevin Love’s usual offensive contributions.
The Cavaliers scored only 39 points in the first half, an offensive output that might not even suffice in the NBL.
“We’ve been counted out for a long time this season,” James said post-game.
All that remains to be determined is whether it will be another matchup with Stephen Curry, or whether James Harden and the Houston Rockets can disrupt the Finals pairing.