By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — As Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals entered the second half, it looked like LeBron James could have used a halftime nap.
James didn’t look like his usual self throughout the game against the Celtics, especially late in the contest. While he finished with a game-high 26 points, he had just two points on 1-for-6 shooting and a pair of turnovers in his last 16 minutes. He shot just 11-for-22 (including 1-for-6 from three-point range) and finished with a game-high six turnovers.
Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue said he thought James looked a bit tired during Cleveland’s 96-83 loss, which now has them in a 3-2 series hole.
“He looked a little tired to me, yes,” said Lue. “No concerns. You’ve got to be ready to play now. No concerns.”
James himself admitted to be a little drained during the game, but wouldn’t use it as an excuse for the loss.
“I had my moments, but I think everyone at this point is tired, worn down, whatever the case may be,” James said. “I’m still trying to make plays and help our team win, put us in position to win. We had moments, we had an opportunity and we didn’t make enough plays.”
Per usual, James is carrying the Cavaliers this postseason and receiving very little support from his teammates. He outscored the rest of Cleveland’s starters, and if James isn’t dominating, the Cavaliers aren’t going to win.
But he’s not going to get much sympathy from anyone for his sleepiness, especially not any of the Celtics. Boston forward Marcus Morris, one of the handful of players Brad Stevens has tasked with the tough job of slowing down James this series, also noticed LeBron’s sluggishness on Wednesday, but wasn’t breaking out his violin after the game.
“Yeah, I seen it. We threw a lot of different bodies at him. He has to do a lot for that team, obviously everybody knows,” said Morris. “These games are coming up pretty quick. Games are coming fast. At the end of the day, [shoot], I’m tired, everybody else is tired.”
Even if James was a little worn-out and looked ready to hit the hay during Game 5, you’d be crazy to think he won’t be ready to play all 48 minutes on Friday night. The Cavaliers will need James to be his King-like self if they want to keep the series alive and force a deciding Game 7 back in Boston on Sunday.
If not, James will have plenty of time to catch up on some Z’s during the offseason.