After having the privilege of watching Lebron James dominate the NBA for the past 15 years, it is easy to forget that basketball is a team game.
Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen and a bench he could count on. Magic Johnson had arguably the best supporting cast of all time. Kobe and Shaq would not have three-peated without the help of Rick Fox, Derek Fisher, and Robert Horry. The Golden State Warriors are nearly unstoppable because of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and their unselfish brand of basketball.
Individual players win accolades, teams win championships.
Basketball fans have become so accustomed to the greatness that is Lebron James, that they take it for granted. Lebron James, at 33-years-old, has played more minutes in both the regular season and postseason than any other player in the league this year. He has carried a disastrous roster (outside of Kevin Love) to the Eastern Conference Finals and has turned in what many believe to be his best postseason performance to date.
There is no question that Lebron will put it all on the line with his team facing elimination, but if the Cavaliers are going to get past the Celtics, their role players have to produce.
Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith need to be more reliable from behind the arc. Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood must be consistent on both sides of the court. Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. have to be the productive big men they both are capable of being. Above all else, the Cavaliers need to play team defense.
If Cleveland can do just half that, they have a shot. If they can do all of that, they won’t just be in the Finals, they’ll have a legitimate chance at winning it.
History says that Lebron James will lead the Cavaliers to a Game 6 win over the Celtics and produce a Herculean effort in Boston for Game 7 to carry the Cavaliers back to the NBA Finals for the fourth straight spring. That being said, for Lebron to accomplish this feat he needs someone, anyone, to show up when it matters most and be a threat on the court.