Upon his return from Miami in 2014, James also lobbied for the acquisition of Love, a fine player though unlucky with injuries, the latest being his collision with the Celtics' Jason Tatum early in Game 6 that put him in concussion protocol and left him on the sidelines on Sunday night.
The three-time National Basketball Association champion took 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists on Sunday night as the Cleveland Cavaliers won Game 7 in Boston to clinch the Eastern Conference title for the fourth consecutive year. Horford led the charge as the Celtics took a 26-18 at the end of the first quarter.
The Cavaliers spent most of the third quarter, too, trying to fully overcome that 12-point hole they had fallen into in the first half - and used their defense to do it. "Emotionally draining. All the stuff that's gone on, all the storylines - and that was just in the regular season".
This season has been a roller coaster ride for the Cleveland Cavaliers to say the least.
It was not a promising start. But the role players began to pick up their play in the second quarter. They praised James for accomplishing another historic feat. He focused on getting his teammates involved, and Jeff Green in particular began to get into a rhythm. Multiple games now in TD Garden, held them under 100, three games in the 80s - but he still scored 35.
Missed shots and turnovers allowed the Cavs to climb to within four at halftime, and the Celtics' offense never really recovered. So Sunday's 19-point performance was quite an improvement. J.R. Smith added 12 points. Two minutes later, Green would hit his first three-point shot of the contest to give Cleveland the lead, 53-51.
James played all 48 minutes of the game, scoring 35 points while recording 15 rebounds and nine assists. I think about the teams that I've played over this run and the players that I've played over this run, slightly.
It stings now, but the Boston Celtics will be better for it in the long run. They scored 44 on their last 58 possession, an anemic rate of 0.76 points per trip. His efforts helped the Cavs snap the Celtics' 10-game home winning streak in this year's playoffs. Either way, even in victory, there is a sense here that something has shifted, that James' Cavaliers likely won't be the same again.
Batman needs a sidekick to be an effective crime-stopper.
Sharing a stage with Tatum at a news conference following Boston's Game 7 loss, veteran Al Horford heaped praise on Tatum as well. "The great quote from the great Doc Rivers is you always want to go into the Game 7 with the best player, and we have the best player on our team going into a Game 7".