As poor as the Cleveland Cavaliers have looked, as bad as their defense is, and as limited as their roster is there are still many that believe they will come out of the East. That reason is solely due to them believing that LeBron James can carry them there. That ideology makes sense given he just won a series by virtually carrying his entire team on his back, but the toll it took on him may cost Cleveland another run at the Finals.
After the game, LeBron did not come across as confident as usual, he instead let the world know how exhausted he currently is:
“I’m burnt right now, I am not thinking about Toronto.” and added “I’m tired,” and “I want to go home.”
This is after he told Tyronn Lue pregame that he intended to play the entire Game 7. That, of course, did not happen when he left the game in the third quarter due to leg cramps.
Besides the run the team made early in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers have turned into a team that is nothing more than a one-man show that covers up a bunch of average. When LeBron admits to the media he is burnt out, that is him saying he cannot continue to play at the rate he is playing at for the amount of time he is playing.
It took LeBron playing nearly 41 minutes a game for the Cavaliers to scratch and claw their way to barely advancing past the Pacers. LeBron was saying what everyone should know; this not sustainable.
Not only did LeBron average eight more minutes a game than his next closest teammate – Kevin Love – he was doing so at a level that required the utmost energy having to be excellent in all phases of the game. If that level of play and that amount of minutes was barely good enough to beat the Pacers, it is hard to fathom Cleveland lasting much longer this postseason.
The competition is about to get much harder for the Cavaliers and if it is rest LeBron is seeking, he is not in luck. Next up Cleveland will take on a much more talented, deeper roster in Toronto where they will receive no more than one day of rest at a time the entire series.
It will be a quick turnaround in a series Cleveland will not have home-court advantage in. If the Cavaliers go into yet another series as a one-man operation, there may not be enough juice in the tank from one LeBron James this time around.
LeBron’s exhaustion is not just a result of a seven-game series where he played a ton of minutes, it also comes from playing all 82 games in his fifteenth season. In doing so, LeBron actually led the league in minutes.
That would have been a daunting journey for any player in their fifteenth year, but LeBron has also accumulated a massive amount of extra minutes on top of that. Going to seven straight NBA Finals has extended his total minutes immensely.
At some point, these miles on LeBron’s resume will catch up to him, and with the Raptors and 76ers/Celtics waiting, that time may be coming soon.
When LeBron makes these comments he knows they will spread like wildfire. He says nothing my accident, and this time it was a clear message to all his free agent suitors. He needs a better supporting cast.