LeBron James placed a desire for greatness behind an inspirational performance that led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a historic playoff comeback against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday.
The Cavs held a 2-0 lead in the first-round series before tip-off at Bankers Life Fieldhouse but had to fight back from a 25-point half-time deficit – a feat never previously achieved in the postseason – to secure a 119-114 victory.
James played the entire second half and finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, but admitted he found it difficult to immediately take stock of his display and compare it to his other dominant playoff performances.
He said: "I can't even sit up here and say I can [compare]. One thing I do know is that we had a huge half-time deficit and were able to come back and win the game.
"I didn't know it was the biggest comeback or things of that nature. For myself, I just try to put myself in position to help my team-mates win no matter who's on the floor with me. Try to empower them, try to make them better, try to make them believe we can be great every night.
"I just don't settle for being not as great as I can be. It's not going to result in a stat line like this every night. When my mind is fresh and in the moment, sometimes certain things like this happen, so I don't know.
"I can't even really appreciate it. I'll let you guys write your words about it and go from there. Only thing that matters is a win, and that's what I'm here for."
The Cavs' comeback was even more remarkable for the face that Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving did not feature at all in the fourth quarter, with James praising the roles played by Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Deron Williams and Kyle Korver.
"This is why the team was built this way. Our depth has been challenged this year because of injuries, we haven't been able to get a full dosage of what we can become even with the guys on the floor," said James.
"But our bench definitely got the game ball tonight. Channing, Shump, D-Will, Kyle, those guys came in and gave us huge minutes."
Coach Tyronn Lue praised James after he moved past Kobe Bryant for third on the NBA's all-time playoff scoring list and confessed it was difficult to leave Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love out of the final period.
"LeBron willed us home, 41, 12 and 13, played the whole second half. That's what playoff basketball is all about. You got to be willing to sacrifice and lay it on the line to win a game, and that's what he did for us.
"Every decision you make in the playoffs is difficult. Looking at Kyrie and looking at Kevin, they were like: 'Let them go. They're playing well.'
"I had every intention to keep those guys in as long as they were playing well. Kevin and Kyrie didn't [protest]. That's what playoff basketball is all about. Guys step up and play well, and you just root those guys on.
"After the game they [Irving and Love] were happy and said: 'It's not about us, it's about the team.' Not a big deal at all, especially when you come out with the win."
24 de junio 2017
|Mexico 2 Russia 1: Akinfeev error sends hosts crashing out|
|Federer to face Zverev in Halle final|
|Australia permutations are perfect, says Postecoglou|
|Kvitova reaches first final since injury, Muguruza beaten|
|Sevilla making ´great effort´ to re-sign Jovetic and Banega|
|Postecoglou hails Cahill as a ´great Australian who transcends sport´|
|We know each other by heart - Cavani talks up Pastore partnership|
|Hamilton snatches Baku pole from Bottas|
|Ford steps down as Sri Lanka coach|
|I do not want to continue for money – No China or MLS appeal for retired Arbeloa|
|Zarco claims maiden MotoGP pole in Assen|
|Antonio´s injury recovery on schedule for new West Ham season|
|The cat that got the seam? Pitch invader interrupts England´s World Cup opener|
|Cameroon want to honour beloved Foe|
|Brazil can win World Cup, says old tormentor Low|
|Inter ´want to loan´ Gabigol with English and Spanish clubs keen|
|Messi at 30: Garcia tips Messi to retire at Camp Nou|
|Goretzka ´carefully planning´ next move amid Arsenal links|
|Bravo! Claudio could return for Socceroos clash|
|Inter need ´men´ like Valero, says Spalletti|
|Pearce golden-point winner downs NRL leaders Storm|
|Messi at 30: The prizes that got away with Argentina|
|New Zealand 30 Lions 15: Top Opta facts|
|One of the best I´ve seen! - Hansen raves about Lions try|
|Demarai Gray set to stay at Leicester despite ´frustrating´ season|
|Germany injury worry over Liverpool´s Can|
|Stunning O´Brien try one to savour for beaten Lions|
|Lions shortcomings can be fixed, says Gatland|
|Defence won All Blacks the game - Read|
|Cameroon´s Djoum sets sights on ´big player´ Draxler|
|Mourinho will attract huge players to Man Utd, says Yorke|
|O´Mahony: Lions must be more clinical|
|Messi at 30: De Boer says much more still to come from ´best player ever seen´|
|New Zealand 30 Lions 15: The key moments|
|New Zealand 30 Lions 15: Wasted chances costly as All Blacks take opener|
|Muriel hoping for ´concrete´ transfer offer amid Atletico and Inter interest|
|Messi at 30: Leo or Cristiano? Cherish them both as time waits for no man|
|Barcelona target Verratti tells PSG: I will stay if you buy champions|
|Ireland finish tour with perfect record after Japan win|
|Messi at 30: From the Champions League to the World Cup - 10 of his best goals|
|Viral rant proves inspirational as Wallabies hold on to beat Italy|
|Messi at 30: Leo´s career in numbers|
|Orioles pitching gives up 15 more runs, Nationals and Royals claim walk-off wins|
|Fiji spoil Ford´s party in win over Scotland|
|MLS Review: Giovinco seals win as Toronto stay unbeaten at home, Texas derby ends 1-1|
|Cabrera wants Mets to trade him|
|Donnarumma? There´s nothing new – Fassone|
|Former West Ham and Madrid defender Arbeloa announces retirement|
|Big Papi´s big night: Red Sox retire David Ortiz´s number 34|
|Vegas Golden Knights add to developing roster with three first-rounders|
|Butler posts heartfelt thank-you letter to Chicago Bulls|
|Messi could´ve played for Real Madrid instead of Barcelona – Gaggioli|
|Fultz, Embiid fully believe Sixers are a playoff team|
|Oshie staying with Capitals on new eight-year deal|
|Devils take Hischier with number one pick in NHL draft|
|Spieth maintains Travelers lead as struggling Day misses cut|
|Porto´s Depoitre joins Huddersfield for club-record fee|
|Stokes slams Roy obstruction dismissal|
23 de junio 2017
|Five championships sounds pretty good - Hamilton targeting more F1 titles|
|Portugal U21s won´t be matching the Euro success of Ronaldo and Co.|
|Morgan defends Livingstone after disastrous debut run-out in South Africa defeat|
|Hardaker shines as Tigers beat Rhinos, Salford suffer late heartache|
|Saints legend Le Tissier urges Pellegrino to entertain|
|De Villiers hails South African never-say-die attitude|
|Salah set to thrill Liverpool fans - Ince|
|Rain washes out opening ODI in Trinidad|
|Cilic and Dimitrov through to Aegon Championships semi-finals|
|Proteas pull off thrilling fightback to set up T20 decider|
|Ronaldo and Hernandez don´t compare for Vasin|
|Broad in contention for opening South Africa Test|