LeBron James wasn’t ready to go home or to Philadelphia or Los Angeles.
He’s heading to Toronto Authentic Baker Mayfield Jersey , bringing a Cavaliers team that isn’t done yet.
Unwilling to sit despite battling leg cramps in the second half, James scored 45 points and got some much-needed help from his teammates in Game 7 to stay unbeaten in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, leading the Cavaliers to a 105-101 win on Sunday over the Indiana Pacers, who pushed the game’s best player to the breaking point.
Following the game, an exhausted James said the series took a physical toll.
”I’m burnt right now,” he said. ”I’m not thinking about Toronto right now until tomorrow. I’m ready to go home. Can we? I’m tired. I want to go home.”
James added nine rebounds, seven assists and played over 43 minutes while improving to 13-0 in the first round. He kept Cleveland’s strange season alive – for the time being – but it took everything the 33-year-old and the Cavs had to hold off the Pacers, who came in confident after a 34-point win in Game 6.
But James, who at times seemed to be playing the Pacers by himself in the series, pulled the Cavs back from the brink of elimination and at least delayed any more talk about impending free agency.
”Amazing,” Indiana’s Victor Oladipo said of James. ”He did what he always does. It’s not really shocking. He’s the best in the world, and that’s what the best does and now I gotta work to get on that level.”
The Cavs will open the conference semifinals on Tuesday at top-seeded Toronto.
Early in the game, James looked at agent Rich Paul sitting courtside and told him he wasn’t coming out. James then played the first 35 minutes before heading to the locker room with one minute left in the third to be treated for what he said was ”a little minor injury.” James said he was urged to get IV fluids but turned them down.
Nothing was going to keep James off the floor in what some Cleveland fans feared could have been his last game with the franchise.
He fought through the fatigue. He had no choice.
”It felt like a Game 7,” he said. ”It was like J'Mon Moore Color Rush Jersey , your mind is thinking like, `OK, besides the two I played in the Finals, you start thinking like, is this it? Could this be it?’ That’s just human nature. And then the other side of my brain was like, `Let’s go make something happen. Let’s go, that’s what you here for. You’re here to make plays, you’re the leader.”’
The Cavs got a huge lift from Tristan Thompson, who played just 24 minutes in the first six games but made a rare start as Cavs coach Tyronn Lue used his 34th different starting lineup this season. Thompson added 15 points and 10 rebounds, Kevin Love made four 3-pointers, and George Hill returned after missing three games with back spasms to score 11 in 19 second-half minutes.
”Five guys in double figures,” said Lue, who has taken heat for some decisions in the series. ”But I’m just happy Tristan, because he’s been here with us for so long and been through all of the things we’ve been through over the course of the last four years Phillip Gaines Color Rush Jersey , and to step in and play the way he did, I’m just so happy for him.”
Oladipo scored 30 and Darren Collison had 23 for the Pacers, who were still within four in the final minute before a cutting James scored on a bullet pass from Kyle Korver with 30 seconds left.
”Best receiver in the NBA,” Korver said of James. ”Just got to put it up there for him.”
Oladipo hit a 3 at the horn and was immediately embraced by James, who had never played a first-round Game 7 and was in jeopardy of seeing an eighth trip to the Finals end quickly.
”Honestly, I think we were the better team, and they had the best player in the world,” Pacers forward Trevor Booker said.
It was the first Game 7 in Quicken Loans Arena history, and Cleveland fans were on edge from the start.
A loss would not only have ended the Cavs’ season earlier than expected and their reign as three-time conference champs, but it would have pushed James closer to free agency. He’s expected to opt out of his contract in July to test the market, and there’s already a line of teams stretching from Philly to L.A. looking to sign the three-time champion.
His stay in Cleveland isn’t quite complete.
After the Cavs were rocked in Game 6, Lue knew he needed to shake things up, so he started players he trusts most. Korver got the nod along with James, Love Chase Edmonds Color Rush Jersey , Smith and Thompson – the four holdovers from the three Finals teams.
”I just think in Game 7, go with the guys who’ve been here, who’ve been through it all and know what it takes,” Lue said.
Despite the loss, the Pacers felt great about their season.
”If y’all don’t respect the Indiana Pacers now, I have no respect for you,” Oladipo said. ”Nobody thought we would be here.”
Lance Stephenson, an eight-year pro in his second tour with Indiana, was especially impressed with the team’s young players.
”This team was amazing,” he said. ”We brought it every night. There was no drama all season and everybody kept a positive attitude at all times. The future is bright.”
Pacers: Both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis fouled out. … Stephenson picked up his second technical of the series when he hit James in the head on a first-quarter drive. … Dropped to 3-6 in Game 7s, with all of Magic Johnson is betting his job on his free-agent recruiting skills for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Johnson declared Monday that he will step down as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations if he can’t persuade an elite free agent to sign with the 16-time NBA champions within the next two summers.
”Next summer, if nobody comes and I’m still sitting here like this, then it’s a failure,” Johnson said after a news conference to introduce draft picks Moe Wagner and Svi Mykhailiuk.
Johnson was put in charge of the Lakers’ front office by owner Jeanie Buss in February 2017 Andrei Svechnikov Hurricanes Jersey , and the former superstar point guard immediately announced his plans to revive the struggling franchise by enticing the game’s best players to join as free agents.
With Paul George and potentially LeBron James headlining the market this summer, Johnson is leading the Lakers’ efforts to land both players this weekend. If they sign elsewhere, Johnson and the Lakers will pursue the large crop of 2019 free agents.
And if he strikes out with every big name, Johnson said he will quit.
”Like I told you when I took the job, it’s going to be a two-summer thing for the Lakers,” Johnson said. ”This summer, and next summer, and that’s it. And if I can’t deliver, I’m going to step down myself. She won’t have to fire me. I’ll step away from it. Because then, I can’t do this job. But so far, so good.”
Although the Lakers are mired in the worst five-year stretch in franchise history and haven’t made the playoffs since 2013, Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have been successful in achieving their initial goals since they took over 16 months ago.
They have solidified a decent core of talented young players – Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart – to provide their potential free-agent signees with support. They have made several slick trades and personnel moves to clear enough salary cap room to offer two mammoth free-agent contracts this summer.
Now comes the tough part: Persuading George or James or other big names to move to Hollywood. Johnson said he has no idea whether the Lakers’ pitch will be well-received http://www.raidersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-daryl-worley-jersey , but he also feels confident in his task.
”I’m Magic Johnson,” he said with his ubiquitous smile. ”You know how many finals I’ve been in? So you think I’m worried about this? I played against Larry Bird in the Finals. I played in nine Finals.”
Johnson is the second straight basketball decision-maker for the Lakers to create a self-imposed deadline for success.
In 2014, co-owner Jim Buss told the Los Angeles Times that the Lakers had to be a contender within three to four years, or ”I will step down, because that means I have failed.”
The Lakers badly missed that deadline, and Buss’ sister fired him and general manager Mitch Kupchak in February 2017.
Johnson and Pelinka are spending this week honing and fine-tuning their free-agent pitches. They’ll show their plans to Jeanie Buss later in the week, along with numerous contingency plans for the short-term and long-term future.
”If we can sign somebody this summer, we’ll do that,” Johnson said. ”If it doesn’t happen, we’ve got to turn to next summer.”