Observers wondered how the Cleveland Cavaliers could play any better than the thrashing handed out during the 117-104 Wednesday win in the Boston Garden. LeBron James responded with 30 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three blocks in a 130-86 massacre.
He was methodical, calculating and exacting on every single mistake that Boston made on Friday night. At one point Avery Bradley intercepted a wild pass and looked like he had a clear path to the basket for an easy layup, the Akron native swooped in and chased him down for a block.
That is how LBJ has functioned throughout this series and throughout these Eastern Conference Playoffs. He is a lion stalking his prey from the high grass and when the decision to strike is made, often it is too late for the hunted to react.
Other teams have been looking over their shoulder trying to avoid their fate despite the fact that everyone can see the result coming from a mile away. These Cavs have gotten to their place at the moment by sweeping teams and getting rest in spades.
This rest has led to a career high in +/-, the stat that values on-court production versus off-the-court production for individual players in a game. He tallied a staggering +46 against Boston in Game 2 which absolutely jumped off the stat sheet after the win.
One writer knew that James would explode to start this series and his predictions have looked accurate in the early going. Tom Haberstroh has covered the four-time MVP since his days in Miami and addressed the effect rest has on him during a segment for ESPN.
Haberstroh said: “In the four games of his career with eight days of rest, his point totals are 34, 49,44 and 24. That measly 24 came last year against the Raptors where the Cavs won so badly, he sat the final 16 minutes of the game.”
These findings foreshadowed what we now know to be true, the writing was on the wall for the proud franchise before they even stepped on the floor for Game 1. He followed that staggering performance up with even more dominance last night.
The King has his team on a dominant course as the series shifts back to Cleveland on Sunday where they will try to ensure a 3-0 stranglehold on the Celtics. If it ends up looking anything like Friday night, they will be well on their way to a third straight NBA Finals.