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J.R. Smith admits the Cavs are forcing LeBron James to play too much "hero ball"

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The Cleveland Cavaliers face an uphill task to reach their fourth consecutive NBA Finals as they trail the Boston Celtics 2-0 in their Eastern Conference Finals series.

Back-to-back defeats on the road have left them in a precarious position as they head back home needing to win both games on their floor.

Even a monster 40-point triple-double from LeBron James wasn't enough to secure a victory in Game 2 as the Cavs faltered in the second half.

Kevin Love and Kyle Korver were the only other players in double figures in that game as many of his other teammates have hit an offensive slump at the wrong time.

The likes of J.R. Smith and George Hill have barely given the Cavaliers anything in terms of scoring.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game One

Ahead of Saturday night's Game 3 in Cleveland, Smith accepts that they must raise their game and ease the load on LeBron.

"We have to ramp it up," said Smith, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "We're playing too slow. We're making Bron play hero ball, which is tough to do, especially in the Eastern Conference finals. We got to help him.

"With that said, we have to give him an opportunity to make him feel confident to give us the ball so we can make the right plays. We got to help him, and he's got to help us."

The veteran is averaging just 2.0 points on 12.5 percent shooting in the series and was scoreless in their Game 2 defeat on Tuesday night.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game One

James is posting 28.5 points (on 46.7 percent shooting), 10.5 assists and 8.5 rebounds in the two games against the Celtics.

After six players averaged double digits in scoring against the Toronto Raptors in the second round, the Cavs now have just two players doing so against Boston with Love putting up 19.5 points.

The Cavaliers couldn't buy a bucket early in the fourth quarter as head coach Tyronn Lue surprisingly chose to leave both LeBron and Love on the bench.

This allowed the home team to build a decent lead which they didn't relinquish. Lue lamented the team's shot selection in the final period and cited it as the main reason why they were unable to claw their way back into the game.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Two

"We took some bad shots, I thought," Lue said of the Cavs' second-half performance in Game 2. "I thought we rushed shots and we got down six or seven [points] and started playing like we were down 25.

"So, I mean, a 6-7 point game in the playoffs is nothing. We just got to take better shots coming down the stretch."

With their season on the line, Game 3 is simply a must-win situation for the Wine and Gold and they'll need a raucous crowd at Quicken Loans Arena to help them keep their campaign alive.

Listen HERE to episode two of the new GiveMeSport NBA podcast, featuring New York Times senior writer Marc Stein.

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Topics:
Central Division
JR Smith
Kevin Love
Cleveland Cavaliers
Eastern Conference
LeBron James
NBA

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