With their 94-85 loss to the Boston Celtics on Thursday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers championship hopes came to a screeching halt.
Cleveland entered the postseason as arguably the best team in the NBA. They produced a league best 61-21 regular season record, secured home court advantage throughout the playoffs, and had arguably the best player in the NBA on their roster.
This veteran laden squad was specifically built to thrive in the playoffs.
But after two downright embarrassing performances against the Boston Celtics, in games five and six, Cleveland’s best laid plans quickly fell apart.
Cavs fans shouldn't be upset that their team didn’t challenge for a title. They should, however, be upset by the team's pathetic effort. As a sports fan, if your team plays their guts out and simply comes up short, you can live with that.
But watching the Cavs play games five and six, it appeared that the entire team, not just LeBron, would rather be somewhere else.
The Cavaliers looked like they weren’t giving enough effort during stretches of this series.
When a team with championship aspirations fails to perform up to their perceived potential, there will always be plenty of blame to go around.
LeBron James should shoulder a fair amount of this blame. But at the same time, it’s unreasonable to heap every criticism on the King.
I’m not making excuses for LeBron, and it’s been proven that for a team to be successful during the playoffs, their best player has to play well.
However, it has also been proven, throughout the years, that a team’s best player needs support from his teammates and his coaching staff. Lebron didn’t get help from either.
It was painfully obvious that LeBron was not himself in the last two games of the Boston series. But his un-LeBron-like performance is only one of a few reasons why Cleveland faltered against Boston. Here are five reasons why the Cavaliers playoff exit isn’t LeBron’s fault.