LeBron James doesn’t like to predetermine how he’s going to play in a game. He doesn’t like to come out with an aggressive attack before reading how the defense is going to play. James doesn’t want to be a volume shooter, preferring efficient basketball.
But the circumstances – down 1-0 to the Chicago Bulls with no Kevin Love and no J.R. Smith and with an unpredictable mix of playoff newbies and veterans – called for exactly that kind of play.
Not only did the situation call for it, but James’ Cavaliers teammates called for it, too: Come in with an aggressive mindset, attack early in the first quarter and shoot as much as necessary in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference semifinals series.
“For me, I had to change my approach tonight knowing how shorthanded we are and be ultra-aggressive,” James said. “Kyrie (Irving) wanted me to be ultra-aggressive, which I’m not accustomed to doing, especially taking that many shots. I’ve never been a high-volume shooter. But I have to respond to my teammates. What my teammates want me to do, I try to succeed at doing it. This is a change of mindset for myself, and I have to do it if that’s what my guys want me to do.”
In Cleveland’s 106-91 Game 2 victory over the Bulls, James scored a game-high 33 points, had eight rebounds and five assists, was a plus-31 and took 29 shots, the most since the 2009 playoffs when he attempted 30 shots against the Orlando Magic.
“There wasn’t one possession where you could look on the floor and he wasn’t dominant,” Irving. “He was all over, which we expect him to do. When he has that killer mindset and not really caring what’s going on except for his teammates, he’s the greatest player in the game right now.”
Source: USA Today | Jeff Zillgitt