As if last night’s game wasn’t important enough for this series alone, it may end up determining LeBron James future. I’ve been adamant all year that I believe LeBron will remain in Cleveland next season. The only way I could see him leaving is if something horribly wrong happens in the playoffs.
Losing to the Pacers in the first round would be that horrible scenario that could drive him out.
LeBron is not the player to blame for these two losses in this series. He has absolutely no help around him. Not a single player besides James has scored 20 or more points at any point. Kevin Love, who scored 16 in the first half of last night’s loss and only three points in the 2nd half, is the only other player to average double-digit scoring. Even with the stellar defense they’ve played, you cannot win a series against anyone averaging under 100 points per game.
When asked after the game if there is anything he can do to help encourage more contributions out of his teammates, James said,
“What are you guys looking for? You think I’m going to throw my teammates under the bus. I’m not about that. Guys have just got to play better, including me. I had six turnovers tonight. I was horrible in the third quarter. Couldn’t make a shot. If I make some better plays in the third quarter, then the lead don’t slip. We know we’ve all got to play better as a collective group.”
Immediately after JR’s missed buzzer beater three at the end of the 4th, I felt the impending doom of this series and LeBron’s upcoming free agent decision. After some time to let the loss settle, I still feel like this team can turn the series around. But, if they continue to struggle like they are, I wouldn’t be surprised if LeBron decides to move on from Cleveland because of it.