LeBron James stuffed the stat sheet in a losing effort last night. Against the Celtics, he scored 42 points in 39 minutes, and chipped in 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Offensively, he’s been unstoppable for much of this playoff run, but LeBron James’s defense has left something to be desired.
Jame is one of the great defensive players of all time. His game-sealing block against Andre Igoudala in game seven of the 2016 NBA Finals will probably go down as the most iconic play of his career. “The Block” even has its own Wikipedia page.
This Cleveland Cavaliers team is affording LeBron the least help of any that he’s been on since he left Cleveland for Miami. That is why James can have a 42 point triple-double and lose a game 107-94, after scoring 21 points in the first quarter.
He has to contribute so much offensively, that he probably has to conserve a bit on the other end. Unfortunately for ‘Bron, it was very apparent last night.
Now, if LeBron James’s defense had been perfect last night, Skip Bayless would’ve still found a gripe.
We apologize in advance, but the FS1 personality weighed in this morning. (Of course he did).
"LeBron James, after 15 years in this league, plays little to no defense even in a playoff game, and I have to tell you: it really, deeply offends me to watch it." — @RealSkipBayless pic.twitter.com/mmKAYxQqij
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) May 16, 2018
He wasn’t the only one though. LeBron got ripped during and after the game for some seriously lackluster D on Twitter (warning: there is some colorful language in the following tweets.)
This fucking guy pic.twitter.com/D2M7d2lP2j
— #Mickstape (@ColeyMick) May 16, 2018
LeBron complains to the refs ,stays in the backcourt and doesn't get back on defense….Cavs give up fast break bucket. pic.twitter.com/lTYr62mbCc
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) May 13, 2018
LeBron on defense rn👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/xFANbf9rBO
— L.O.W. (@LegendOfWinning) May 16, 2018
Believe it or not, Lebron James was the biggest reason the Cavs lost game 2. His defense was absolutely horrible once again. Every single one of those Celtics open 3’s came because he didn’t rotate.
— Johan Baker (@johanbakerr) May 16, 2018
Lebron my guy but I hate he don’t play defense no mo…and he get mad at his teammates for his bad defense
— Quinshad Davis (@Q_14_D) May 16, 2018
LeBron really don’t care about defense anymore.
— Ry (@JustRyCole) May 16, 2018
LeBron’s lazy defense isn’t fatigue. He’s been a lazy defender all year. The apg and rpg stats come at a price. Should honestly just give up on the play-making, worthless rebounds and bringing the ball up the court and just focus on scoring and defense straight up.
— SI02 (@Shadyhere) May 16, 2018
The series with the Celtics certainly isn’t over yet. Boston took care of things at home, but now head to Cleveland for two games.
However, the early returns are not good for the Cavaliers. In game one, a true blowout loss, LeBron was effectively shut down, which never happens.
Game two might actually be more concerning. Statistically, LeBron went nuts, but the Cavaliers couldn’t build much of a lead after he scored 21 in the first quarter, and wound up losing by 13.
If Cleveland holds serve at home, we still have a series. Assuming Boston makes it through after going up 2-0, though, LeBron James’s defense may not be a concern for the Cavs much longer.