Losing in the NBA Finals isn’t something new to LeBron James, experiencing it for a fourth time at the end of this season and a second time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, on this occasion to the Golden State Warriors.
Despite playing without Kevin Love for most of the playoffs and without Kyrie Irving for games 2-6 after his injury in overtime of game 1, the Cavaliers dragged the series out to six games. James was the best player of the series, averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the Finals. However, the Cavaliers couldn’t keep up with a better, deeper and yes, healthier team, losing in six games.
I just don’t feel like you ever move on from losing in the Finals because you feel like you’re right there and feel like you have the opportunity to do something special. … I can never get away from losing in the Finals.
James isn’t the player or person he was four years ago after the Miami Heat lost in the finals to the Dallas Mavericks, also letting a 2-1 lead slip away from them. He acted differently, and was one of the most hated athletes in the United States at the time because of the Decision he made to leave Cleveland for Miami in the summer of 2010.
Not that he’s getting unanimous love these days, but he’s no longer the biggest villain in the league, and knows how to take these things with the right perspective and act accordingly. He might still be arrogant and hit people on certain nerves with some of his comments, but this Finals loss, like the one against the Spurs last year, hasn’t sent him into a hideout in his home for a few weeks. Life goes on.
I guess there’s nightmares now about situations throughout the games that’s always replaying in my head. It’s definitely difficult, you know I’m getting better every day, but you know it takes quite a while for me to get out of the funk. But I got these three kids running around this house every day that don’t allow me to not be happy.
What if scenarios and hypothetical theorizing don’t count, but they’re always interesting. Irving said a while back that with a fully healthy lineup the Cavaliers would have won the title. Draymond Green made a sarcastic remark about Irving’s quote. But Irving is right, sort of. Nothing promises a championship, even Love and Irving playing by James’ side. But would it have been a different series? Very. Missing two All-Star caliber players is going to hurt anyone.
It still doesn’t guarantee you a championship if all guys are healthy, but obviously it would’ve gave us a better chance. That’s obvious. I think we all can understand that that’s obvious.