Humbly Submitted By: Scout Troy (@TroyTerrific)
It turns out LeBron James wasn’t playing at 100% for the last three games of The Finals. NBA mouthpiece and noted LeBron coattail-clinger Brian Windhorst tweeted this report almost immediately after the Cavs were run off their home court and swept by the NBA’s Avengers on Friday night.
LeBron James suffered a significant right hand injury after Game 1 when he punched a black board in the locker room, sources told me & @mcten. He had 2 MRIs & has been wearing a soft cast. LeBron not using injury as an excuse but kept quiet to prevent Warriors from knowing.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 9, 2018
Big Windy was quick to note that LeBron was not using the injury as an excuse, though the news surfacing immediately after he completed basketball’s platinum sombrero smacks of blame deflection. Apparently, LBJ busted his right hand after a losing a battle with a locker room whiteboard. Losses don’t get any more demoralizing than giving your opposition a free pass into overtime and then getting bombed into submission in OT, but clocking a wall is the kind of meathead bullshit that will quickly sink a team with less assets than a lemonade stand. After dropping 51 on the Warriors and giving NBA twitter hope that this may just be a competitive series after all, LeBron’s self-inflicted wounds forced him to abandon his outside game and allowed the Warriors to build a brick wall around the rim for the rest of the series. After canning a trio of threes in game one, he managed only three more range balls the rest of the series and shot 33% from beyond the arc. Sheesh.
Though he may have been dumb to crack his own digits during the most crucial series of his career, you also have to realize how frustrating it would be to walk into the Cavs locker room under those circumstances. After truly putting the team on his back for 48 minutes and putting his team on the verge of a road victory against the most impossible collection of pro basketball talent ever assembled, he couldn’t even count on an 80% free throw shooter to sink both of his attempts or a 14 year veteran to know the score. When LeBron entered the postgame locker room and saw J.R. already rolling a blunt, Tristan Thompson on the phone with one of his myriad side pieces and Kevin Love crouching to hide behind his coat rack (I take him as the type to have one in front of his locker), he probably thought his best bet was to attempt a real-life rage quit and hope the game would start anew. One trusted source told me that in the moment, LeBron thought he might tunnel right through the cinderblock and end up on a Philly streetball court alongside Joel Embiid and a bunch of random losers, who would wear “Please Dunk On Me” t-shirts make them both feel like roundball immortals. The Eric Jr. twitter account could not be reached for comment on this report.
That game, even in the likely event the Warriors still cruised to the title, would have been an ESPN Classic hallmark and possibly the best single game performance of The Chosen One’s career. It’s hard to say whether a game one win would have changed the outlook of the series, but the point is that would have shut the door when victory was in their lap twice in the span of five seconds. Draymond Green may have been two knuckles deep in ‘Bron’s eye socket earlier in the night, but it was playing alongside an AAU team that truly had him seeing red.
Now that the Cavs have been mercy killed, it’s time for LeBron to set out for greener pastures. He’ll attempt to cement his legacy as the greatest player of all time by stacking a few more Larry O’Brien trophies with the twilight of his career looming. Devoid of assets and sporting a negative cap figure, there’s no way his hometown franchise can help him hoist additional hardware. Will the Sixers, Rockets, Celtics or Lakers be able to pitch him on moving away from the midwest? This scout is hearing that the Brooklyn Nets feel they’re one piece away from contending and may be a dark horse suitor. Only time will tell, but it seems impossible for The King to stay in Cleveland. The Warriors dynasty shows no signs of slowing and the Cavs, left with few immediate options for improvement, will struggle mightily to keep pace.