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It Is A Joke

Game 7 wasn’t about the Celtics missed threes.

May 29, 2018 - 9:53 am

It is official, after Game 7 in Boston on Sunday night: LeBron James is the greatest of all time. Yeah I said….yeah….Actually, I don’t really care. I’m not here for bar-guments. Or Mount Rushmores. That’s a giant waste of time. I’m not interested in 6 rings to 3 and counting. You can’t compare guys from different eras, different positions, etc. And besides, doing that means that you’re missing out on something special.

Just as I’m not going to jump into breaking down Cavs-Warriors Part 4. That series doesn’t start until Thursday, so there’s time to break that down. In the meantime, let’s appreciate what just happened. 

Because a day and a half later and I still don’t know what I saw on Sunday night, I just know I’ve never seen anything like it. A guy in his 100th game of his 15th season playing all 48 minutes, 48 hours after playing 46 minutes, and going for 35 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists to win a Game 7 on the road. Could MJ have done that? Maybe. Possible. Probably. I don’t know. And I don’t care, because I just saw LeBron do it. 

And he did it even as Brad Stevens admitted that Boston’s plan was to tire him out. 

"Our goal going into the series was to make him exert as much energy as humanly possible and try to be as good as we can on everybody else. For the most part, I thought we were pretty good at that ... But he still scored 35. It's a joke."

It IS a joke. It’s incomprehensible. All you can do is laugh and shake your head when you see a guy playing in his third game in five days, go 4 of 6 in the fourth quarter with three boards and four assists. 

Fifteen years in, you aren’t supposed to be doing that. Just as fifteen years in, you aren’t supposed to be doing this.

As Ty Lue said, “He's had a lot of gaudy games. But I just think Game 7, in Boston, all the circumstances that surround Boston, the history ... To come here in a hostile environment: (it's) right there."

It is. Because that was not about numbers, because from a numbers standpoint, that wasn’t his best game in this postseason. It might not be in the top 5. Sunday night, as amazing as it was, wasn’t about numbers. It was about dragging this team of, well, whatever the hell it is, to the Finals. I would say that’s the most impressive thing he’s ever done, but he did come back from down 3-1 against a 73-win team to win Cleveland’s first NBA title. 

So as amazing as this all is, the fact that it might not be the most amazing thing he’s ever done, is even more amazing.

So is the fact that he’s going to his 8th straight NBA Finals. 8 Finals is more than many NBA franchises have ever been to, and he’s done it 8 years in a row. That’s starting to creep into Bill Russell territory. And he did it all after being down 0-2 in the series. And he did it in Game 7 without Kevin Love and with Jeff Green as his wingman. 

Let me take a moment for Jeff Green, because that guy takes a ton of heat on Twitter, because he flashes potential, but never quite delivers. And because he’s on his sixth team. And because he scored in the single digits in each of the first five games of this series. But the dude came back from open heart surgery a few years ago and somehow came up with 19 points in Game 7. That’s manly.

But the fact that he was LeBron’s wingman, says a lot. I’m not going to get into comparisons down through the ages, but MJ’s number two was never Jeff Green. Same with Kobe. And Russell. And Bird. But LeBron’s was and he still found a way to win. And somehow, despite the fact that he’s 15 years in, he still had enough gas in the tank, against a much younger Celtics team, to finish them off at home.

I know that Celtics fans, like Rockets fans, are bemoaning the blown double-digit lead or the missed threes down the stretch. I get that. Just as I get that there’s nothing I can say about Jayson Tatum that will make you feel better – but I will say that guy is special. He is a stud. To come in the way that he has, as a rookie, and be so comfortable, so prepared for the spotlight, and a Game 7, is remarkable. 

But Game 7 wasn’t about the Celtics missed threes. It’s about LeBron James. Boston ran into a bad stretch of shooting, but worse than that, they ran into LeBron James. And that was only going to have one outcome. And that was LeBron James with a Eastern Conference champions hat.