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."
21 de octubre 2017
|Kane: I´d love to spend whole career at Tottenham|
|Bolt wants to begin football career in 2018|
|What the f***? – Pochettino reveals Madrid selection questions|
|Mourinho plays down Conte spat|
|Liverpool must make Coutinho, Can want to stay – Klopp|
|Marshawn Lynch suspended for one game for contact with official|
|I´m not a dirty player - Barr rejects accusations over hit on Rodgers|
|Late Lyon comeback sinks Sale|
|Dimitrov boosts ATP Finals chances as Goffin, Anderson falter|
|Barcelona star Suarez granted rest by Uruguay|
|I don´t want to hide - Bilic takes responsibility for humbling West Ham defeat|
|Bath look at home in the wet in battling win over Scarlets|
20 de octubre 2017
|F1 Raceweek: Fourth straight Texas triumph could secure title for Hamilton|
|´Magician´ Conte spells out willingness to fight at Chelsea|
|Otamendi and Stones making light of Kompany absence for Guardiola|
|Goerges dashes hopes of all-Russian Kremlin Cup final|
|West Ham 0 Brighton and Hove Albion 3: Murray double piles pressure back on Bilic|
|NBA icon Kobe Bryant meets Neymar and Mbappe on PSG visit|
|Chris Paul to miss Rockets´ home opener with sore knee|
|Dyche not ´running away´ from Burnley as Leicester links intensify|
|UEFA fails to fine Spartak over racist chants in Youth League game|
|Can committed to Liverpool despite contract impasse|
|Albatross helps Luiten maintain narrow Valderrama lead|
|Bernat steps up recovery for Bayern comeback|
|Hasan heroics and Malik might leave Sri Lanka stumped yet again|
|Baker out as Nationals manager|
|Higuain has ´nothing to prove´ despite latest Argentina snub|
|Scotland forward Hardie suspended|
|Suarez struggles no concern for Barca boss Valverde|
|Emery: Neymar needs time to become PSG´s Messi|
|Sarri could have been finance minister! - Spalletti marvels at Napoli boss´ rise|
|Douglas Costa secures Brazil recall for Japan and England friendlies|
|McTominay lands new Manchester United deal|
|Brown blow for Scotland and Glasgow|
|Verstappen signs new Red Bull deal to 2020|
|Rose ready for Spurs return, but won´t start vs Liverpool|
|Koeman confident Everton signings will come good|
|Under-fire Burki lands new four-year Dortmund deal|
|Conte admits to Chelsea midfield crisis ahead of Watford clash|
|Sanchez and Ramsey boost Arsenal for Goodison trip|
|Halep to face Svitolina, Wozniacki and Garcia in Singapore|
|Mane still in rehab, but Klopp won´t block Senegal call-up|
|Kaepernick not blackballed by NFL, claims 49ers owner York|
|Mourinho has ´a feeling´ Ibrahimovic will be back in 2017|
|Conte dismisses Mourinho feud as ´a stupid issue´|
|Always Man City can do better - Guardiola challenges Premier League leaders|
|Aaron Rodgers posts ´comeback starts now´ photo after surgery|
|Klopp anticipating Spurs thriller after Man Utd snoozefest|
|Mawson and Daniels join Mata´s Common Goal|
|Hughes thankful for Stoke stability after ´emotional´ Premier League sackings|
|Bosz determined to turn around Dortmund slump|
|UEFA charge Everton after fans strike Lyon players|
|Adelaide United 2 Melbourne Victory 2: Austin pegs back United after Lia double|
|Webb heartbroken by ´joke´ new Wales selection policy|
|Real Madrid blow as Navas suffers thigh injury|
|Muller close to his old self again, says Heynckes|
|Everton ban fan involved in ugly Lyon scenes|
|Boyd ´very close´ to new Broncos deal|
|British Cycling doctor at centre of ´mystery package´ investigation resigns|
|Manchester City star De Bruyne wants trophies, not awards|
|UEFA charge Roma over alleged racist chanting at Chelsea match|
|Ibrahimovic tipped for December return by training partner Cole|
|Savea replaces injured Todd on All Blacks bench|
|Schweinsteiger ´open to everything´ as he nears end of Chicago Fire contract|
|Ferrari issues have handed Hamilton the title - Button|
|Neymar confirmed wish to leave Barcelona at Messi´s wedding, says Xavi|
|Thomas battles to stay among the leaders as Luke tops the List in Jeju|
|Kershaw jokes he ´might retire´ if Dodgers win World Series|
|Westbrook posts historic triple-double for new-look Thunder|
|Espargaro edges Marquez, Dovizioso in practice|