LeBron James has always lived for the postseason. And this year is no different for the three-time champion.
James insists he feels the same way he always feels during this time of the season, with Saturday marking the sixth straight NBA Finals appearance for the four-time league MVP.
While it’s true the Cleveland Cavs have experienced more struggles this season than arguably any other that has included James as its leader, he insists nothing has really changed as they prepare to take on Paul George and Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
“Through everything that went on with our team, we’re in a position where we can do something special still,” he said. “We have a chance to win it all.”
James went on to insist he’s got the panacea for what ailed the Cavs’ down the stretch, though he refused to share it with inquiring minds.
“I’ve got the answer,” he said. “I’m not giving it to you. But I’ve got the answer why I feel like we’ve got a great chance.”
With six straight Finals appearances, James has a level of credibility on such matters not many cam rival.
Then you add the way he and Kyrie Irving sparked the Cavs past the then-defending champion Golden State Warriors after being in a 3-1 hole.
The Cavs begin this postseason as less than a top-seed in the James era for the first time in what seems like forever. But to know that James has won road games in 25 consecutive series is to know that anything is possible when he takes to the hardwood at this time of year.
But critics are quick to point out that these are not last season’s Cavs, and their four-game season-ending losing streak and stumbling 23-23 finish are all the proof you need of that.
Over the course of the season, coach Tyronn Lue has been forced to shuffle in 22 different players due to injuries and unevenness.
“At the end of the day, I’m not going to harp on what happened in the regular season through injuries, through bad losses, through good wins, through whatever the case may be,” James said.
“The present is the only thing that matters. Me preparing this group, me getting this group locked in and understanding what our opportunity is. I mean it is what it is. Let’s get ready to go. We’ve got to have our mind sharp, our bodies as fresh as possible going into Game 1.”
Soon after the regular season ended, the Cavs engaged in a team dinner aimed at boosting morale and fostering camaraderie.
“We live in the moment and we have to focus on what needs to be done today and go from there,” James added. “It was hard to get a lot of camaraderie and cohesiveness on the floor of a steady diet of what we know we can be with all the injuries every time. I feel like we got healthy, somebody else went out, back in, went out.”
One of the primary lessons James tried to impart on his teammates is that every season is different. That you can never wisely compare one season to another or assume what once work will get the job done in another instance.
“Every year’s different,” he said. “Every year is challenging. You have to be able to, if the year’s not going as well as you might have planned, you’ve got to be able to adjust to that, which is OK.”
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]