Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

LeBron James' Road to Another NBA Finals Isn't Paved Yet

LeBron James GETTYLeBron James could leave the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer
Eugene Bates | 08 April, 2018, 02:41

Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons wasn't having any of that LeBron James hype against the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday evening in Philly. They're riding on win streak. While that's always a statement that will induce cringes those of us who spent our formative years with Michael Jordan posters hanging on our walls, it's an argument that can feel impossible to counter after displays such as the one The King put on in the second half against the Sixers. You're trying to figure it and trying to stay sane.

"He is awesome", Brown said.

"We were all excited to be here in Philadelphia and play before an fantastic crowd in such a big game", Brown said.

"The building is going to be doing somersaults", Brown said before the game. Not only were they missing the one guy on the roster in Joel Embiid who can protect the rim against the LeBron, but starting four-man Dario Saric played just 25 minutes and shot 1-of-9 from the field in his return from an elbow infection.

The 76ers stormed out to a 30-point lead in the first half and had 78 points by intermission before LeBron James heated up. Experience, even on the sidelines with Tyronn Lue (not well respected, but he has been to a couple of Finals already, which has to count for something). "I think they took advantage of that early".

Bradley Beal scored 32 points for the Wizards, including seven straight during a 16-6 spurt to open the fourth quarter.

Simmons threw a lob pass from half court to Richaun Holmes for a high-flying dunk.

Fellow rookie Markelle Fultz has also gotten in on the fun, putting up eight points, three rebounds and three assists in only six minutes. All five of Wall's shots in the fourth were jumpers as the Cavaliers wisely denied the drive. Anthony Davis had 33 points and 11 boards in the Pelicans' second straight win since a four-game skid. Lue, who has changed his diet and is taking sleep medication, has come back to a team that seems to be hitting its stride just in time for the playoffs. James scored 21 of his 44 points in the third quarter and hit a pair of free throws to get the Cavaliers within 130-129 with 4.6 seconds left before Philadelphia hung on.

James sunk his first free throw, but was off the mark on his second. Maybe in his final season with the Miami Heat, which included playing a #1 seed Indiana Pacers in the conference finals, and his first year with the Heat, when Miami faced Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls; a Bulls team that swept the Heat in the regular season, and had the best record in the National Basketball Association. The Sixers might give the Cavaliers problems on a number of levels, but the team has a head coach used to 60 losses a season and nearly nobody on the roster with postseason playing time.

In its 111-104 win over the Chicago on Friday night, Boston showed that at the very least it has a remaining group of players eager to step up and contribute to its injury-torn rotation.

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