An Active Cavs Bench Leads To LeBron’s 44 Point Eruption

    The easy narrative, of course, is to make these Eastern Conference Finals all about LeBron James and thats basically what the majority of fans and media have done. We know LeBron scored 44 points on 28 shots and Cleveland tied the series at 2-2 with an 111-102 win over the Boston Celtics at home on Monday night. 

    His 23-foot jump shot midway through the second quarter of Game 4 was the 2,357th made field goal of James’ postseason career, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time lead in that category.

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    Weve seen Bron have huge games in these playoffs and carry an even bigger offensive load than he has at any point in his career and for some reason — win or lose — hes gotten tremendous credit for his stats. But we know that the only stat that matters with a player of LeBrons ilk is wins and on Monday night, James won the game with help from his teammates as four Cavs scored in double figures to make LeBrons efforts mean something. 

    Kyle Korvers 37-year-old legs have come alive, scoring 14 points in Game 4 and providing Bron with a much needed outside presence that opens things up for King James to do what he does best — drive. 

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    George Hill returned from the dead and added 13 points and Tristan Thompson was what he should be every game; a walking double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds). 

    Kevin Love didnt do much scoring but he did a lot of the dirty work and contributed 11 rebounds. 

    And what can we say about JR Smith?  He must have read the piece I wrote after Game 2 about him being washed up and unable to help LeBron because since that Game 2 loss Cleveland has won two in a row, Smith has 20 points and has drained 6-of-10 three-point attempts. 

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    “We’ve been showing — after Game 3, this is who we are and this is who we have to be.” GAME 4 RECAP: on.nba.com/2J1NQoT #WhateverItTakes pic.twitter.com/9O1640nHc0

    As impressive and dominating as LeBron is, the success of the Cavs isnt about LeBron being The GOAT. 

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    Shannon Sharpe wore a LeBron James jersey and GOAT mask with a black and mild in the mouth. pic.twitter.com/0ZeJ7JsVSX

    Hes been dominating the Eastern Conference for years, so this playoff run is nothing new for him. The adulation and celebrations of LeBron’s greatness have been going on for a decade now. The bigger story is his teammates. They have responded to the challenge and provided Bron with the support and balance that championship clubs always have. 

    Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue gets it. Jalen Rose and the crew on ESPN this morning got on Lue for fielding 17 questions from reporters after the game and not mentioning LeBron and his 30.4 points per game average in any of them. As a head coach Lue doesn’t have time to be a groupie for LeBron. 

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    Lue’s trying to figure out a way to get everyone involved and execute a game plan that makes them a cohesive unit and he knows that it is more important for him to praise the team principles that they utilized to be successful than singing the praises of James. It’s not taking him for granted, it’s executing strategy.  

    So while the world is focused on the exploits of King James and his sixth 40-point game of the playoffs which makes him the first player to have that many 40-point explosions in the playoffs since Allen Iverson in 2001, they are missing the fact that the other guys in Cleveland have come alive and when Bron can focus on what he does best and allows his maligned teammates to establish themselves, thats when Cleveland is truly dangerous. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.