Before Friday night’s Game 2 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics, the NBA revealed its nominees for the inaugural NBA Awards show. There are going to be many honors handed out later this summer including Coach of the Year and Most Improved Player.
The top honor of the night is the Most Valuable Player award and this season presented a plethora of choices to bring home that hardware. Russell Westbrook and James Harden had historic seasons, while Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James continued their run of dominance.
When that list of candidates broke on TNT, James was not featured as a finalist and some might find that shocking. For months now, it was considered a four-man race and it was hard to single out one person who would be ranked fourth out of the eligible pool.
Word spread that The King was not aware of the outcome until slightly before game time and his play on Friday night looked like a man who believed he had been shortchanged. He posted 30 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three blocks in a 130-86 beatdown.
He was methodical, calculating and exacting on every single mistake that Boston made during the game. 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 has been nothing short of phenomenal and all the teams left in his wake have been desperately searching for answers.
King James told the media: “No, I didn’t see it. And what are you going to do about it at the end of the day? My only job is to try and be the MVP for this team every night, put my teammates, put our franchise in position to be successful and ultimately compete for a championship.
“For me, I know what I bring to the table. This league knows what I bring to the table. That’s for you guys to write about. It’s not for me to be concerned about.”
Honestly, he is right because there is only so much he can do in determining that award and getting team accolades is more important. Still, it must sting to know that you are the best player on the planet and still not get recognition for that fact.
Two more wins and maybe James can point to his seventh straight Finals appearance in proving his case.