Why LeBron will fail:

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - NEWS - Martin Rogers

James has car­ried the Cava­liers this far, but too much cir­cum­stance points against him go­ing fur­ther in the NBA play­offs.

Time catches up with us in dif­fer­ent ways, but it still catches up, even to the greats. If you’ve loved the LeBron James Show dur­ing these NBA play­offs, or even loved to hate it, get your cheers or jeers in now be­cause it won’t last much longer.

De­spite the hero­ics of Game 7 against the In­di­ana Pac­ers and, in­deed, that en­tire elec­tri­fy­ing first-round se­ries in which James car­ried his Cleve­land Cava­liers on those ti­tanic shoulders, this is a jour­ney that doesn’t have much fur­ther to travel.

For­get about talk of James get­ting old. Yes, he’s 33, but he’s the player you want on the court in every imag­in­able sit­u­a­tion. The problem is he’s a one-man team who will try to stave off the Eastern Con­fer­ence’s No. 1-seeded Toronto Rap­tors.

But that’s not the only rea­son time will catch up with James. He, and the Cava­liers, have spent far too much of it on the court.

The Rap­tors, al­ready better, younger, fresher and more tech­ni­cally stocked than the Cavs, got to put their feet up for two ex­tra days ahead of the con­fer­ence semi­fi­nals se­ries that was to be­gin May 1.

James is ca­pa­ble of ex­tra­or­di­nary feats, but this year, the odds were stacked against him to be­gin with and now they are piled ex­tra high.

His­tory lauds James’ record in the first round of the play­offs, be­cause it is ex­tra­or­di­nary. Be­fore the past two weeks, his teams had swept five con­sec­u­tive firstround se­ries. That level of dom­i­nance had the ef­fect of cre­at­ing mo­men­tum, and over the course of his ca­reer, the sweeps were al­ways fol­lowed by ef­fort­less strolls into the con­fer­ence fi­nals. Af­ter win­ning 4-0 in the first round, James has never stum­bled at the next hur­dle, go­ing 24-4 in the process.

As the Pac­ers edged closer and gained con­fi­dence be­hind the in­spired play of Vic­tor Oladipo, much was made that James had never lost at this pri­mary stage since he first took part in the play­offs in 2006.

In truth, it was never even close. Never be­fore had he gone into a Game 7 or any kind of elim­i­na­tion sce­nario at such an early junc­ture. The only two oc­ca­sions when the Cavs un­der James sur­ren­dered even two games in the open­ing round, right at the start of his ca­reer in 2006 and 2008, they fell at the next step, in seven to the Detroit Pis­tons and the Bos­ton Celtics, re­spec­tively.

Hav­ing James, whether it be in Cleve­land or Miami Heat colors, as the East’s bea­con in the NBA Fi­nals has been a re­mark­able streak, dat­ing seven sea­sons. It is about to come to an end. It has al­ways fol­lowed a fa­mil­iar blue­print that was this time bro­ken. Dom­i­nate early, and keep some gas in the tank.

There might not be a whole lot of gas left now, but hey, what a way to burn it. By light­ing up for 45 points in Game 7, com­bined with nine re­bounds and seven as­sists, James again showed so much of the fight­ing spirit that has kept him at the peak of the sport for so long.

If not for leg cramps, he would likely have stayed on court for the en­tire 48 min­utes, like he was over­heard promis­ing to his fam­ily early in the con­test.

Modern his­tory shows teams that go about their busi­ness eco­nom­i­cally are re­warded later on.

Last sea­son’s Fi­nals com­bat­ants, James’ Cava­liers and the Golden State War­riors, went into their show­down with a com­bined post­sea­son record of 24-1.

The three losses to the Pac­ers was as many first-round losses that James-led teams had sus­tained in the pre­vi­ous nine post­sea­sons. Com­bined.

Tran­scen­dent sports fig­ures make their name by ig­nor­ing doubt­ing voices and sta­tis­tics, but to over­turn the odds, you need some­thing to fight it with. And James just doesn’t have enough within him or around him.

TREVOR RUSZKOWSKI/USA TO­DAY SPORTS

LeBron James-led teams had swept five con­sec­u­tive first-round se­ries be­fore go­ing to seven games against the Pac­ers this sea­son.

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