Kyle Korver inexplicably played just 19 minutes despite arguably being the team's second-best player in the playoffs. The plan from the very beginning was to wear down the perennial All-Star, something both sides acknowledged played a role in Boston's 96-83 Game 5 win. Boston has played a solid eight-man rotation in this series, and all but 6-foot-2 Terry Rozier has the size, length and athleticism to at least slow down LeBron James from time to time. James is one of the most remarkable runs in the history of the National Basketball Association with his Finals streak, but this is the most vulnerable he has looked since the last time the Celtics beat the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James isn't going to go away quietly.
"Fatigue won't be a problem", the Cavaliers' coach said May 24 during a conference call. "And I think that the deal is you can't ride the emotional roller coaster". "It just happens because I've been able to play with some great players".
"LeBron James has told his teammates that relationships and family concerns or issues and any other drama that might be happening in their lives doesn't matter today. But there's no question in my mind he'll bounce back tomorrow". Back to TD Garden, where they have gone undefeated so far this postseason.
James has been down 3-2 in the conference finals before.
He said that Brad Stevens, the Celtics' coach, had mixed up his own rotations and that "kind of threw us for a loop". We've got EXCLUSIVE details on how LeBron James is telling Tristan Thompson to get his cheating scandal out of his head.
"I would guess out but I haven't gotten any word today", said Stevens. "I know we'll shoot the ball better and play better offensively at home". "We've just played really bad in Boston, and they probably feel the same way with how they played in Cleveland". That said, his stat line speaks to how James was still a dominant force for the Cavs. "So now we've got to go home, win game six and come back here for game seven". Numerous turnovers were sloppy, careless passes.
"I think everybody at this point is exhausted or worn down or whatever the case may be", James said.
I mean, he has no other choice.
Love, who is in his fourth season with Cleveland and is the club's second-best player, is averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds in the series. He walked unsteadily to the bench with guard George Hill holding one of his arm.
Cleveland will host Game 6 in a bid to stay on track for a 4th straight trip to the Finals.
Except, of course, if there's a Game 7 on Sunday in Boston.