Two days after his production and effort played a massive factor in the Cavs sending this series back to Boston tied 2-2, Kyle Korver drew in for a series-low 18:37 in Game 5, finishing with seven points on a 2-for-6 shooting night. James had 16 points, four rebounds and three assists at the half. James scored 26 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out five assists, but he didn't dominate the game as he normally does.
"At the end of the day, it's incredibly hard to beat a good team in the National Basketball Association one time, and our focus is on what we need to do to give ourselves the best chance at being successful tomorrow night", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said when asked about the emotional roller coaster of what's coming for James in Game 6. James swatted one of the rookie's offerings in the opening minute, as big a welcome-to-the-league moment as it gets.
"Well, initially, he's been putting Ojeleye in", Lue said of Stevens after the game Wednesday.
This Celtics team lives in a perpetual state of sobriety when it comes to avoiding the trappings of success which for teams so young, can be quite intoxicating.
"I don't enjoy being in a position where you lose and go home, but just try to extend the series as long as I can and just try put myself and my team in position to continue to play", he said. The same thing happened I think Game 1 or 2; I cant remember, Lue added. "I think the unfortunate events of the injuries that they've had have allowed him to, I believe, get better faster than I believe they expected here".
James also had high praise for the veteran shooter, saying after the game, "I've loved Kyle ever since we made the trade to get him here".
After Game 5, much of the discussion centered around how James appeared lethargic with many openly wondering if the toll of 15 seasons (most extended by deep playoff runs) was showing on him. Oh... It took until midway through the third quarter for a Cavs starter other than James or Love to make a basket. "Go back home, backs against the wall".
That streak of seven straight appearances in the NBA Finals, which would come to an end if he doesn't win these next two games?
"I just thought we played like a different team, to be honest", Korver said.