Cavaliers superstar in a league of his own
‘I just feel like I am out there by myself, like in practice,’ James says
There were close to 20,000 fans in the building, nine other guys and three officials on the court, sundry coaches and trainers and players sitting on the bench, watching.
LeBron James? He didn’t notice one of them.
Having the greatest scoring quarter in Cleveland Cavaliers history, James was oblivious to all around him yesterday.
“Everything is going right for me and I just feel like I am out there by myself,” he said. “Like in practice when you’re by yourself and working out.” Well, sort of. Not only did James destroy the Raptors on the court, he messed with the psyches of players on the bench and fans in the front row of seats. During his fourth-quarter blitz, he was chatting up a storm with anyone who cared to converse.
“I get into conversation with everyone during the course of the game,” he said. “I don’t use that as motivation.”
But helping James’ cause was the way the Raptors played him in that decisive fourth quarter, when he outscored Toronto 24-20. Instead of sending a double-team or trapping him to force him to get rid of the ball and then try to deny him the chance to get it back, Toronto played him relatively straight up.
It was a costly decision because even when he didn’t score, he made plays — he had three assists in the fourth quarter, all on passes that resulted in open three-pointers.
“The tough thing about it is, it’s hard to trap a guy past the threepoint line,” said Chris Bosh. “He made two or three spot-up threes.” But . . . “Any time we see a guy get hot like that, we have to make someone else beat us,” added Bosh.
The Cavs have now won five of six and pulled even with the Raptors at 17-17 on the season. For James, the motivation now becomes getting Cleveland in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.
“The Eastern Conference is so bad with records right now, we can go on a five or six-game winning streak and be in third or fourth place,” he said. “We know that we are better than we’ve shown early in the season.”