CLEVELAND -- When a player scores 38 points, pulls down nine rebounds and hands out seven assists in a Game 1 win over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, he is usually happy, but Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James is not your usual NBA All-Star.
After a standout performance in a 117-104 win over the Celtics Wednesday night, James feels that following a 10-day hiatus, he can play even better when Game 2 tips off at TD Garden in Boston tonight.
“It's to get my mind ready,” James said on the off day in-between games. “I didn't feel great last night, but I'll be much better tomorrow.
“My body kind of decides if it wants to be great or not. Most of the time, it doesn't, but I felt okay last night. I knew I wouldn't feel that great after the game, and I don't feel that great right now, but I kind of knew that coming off of 10 days of not playing the game, but I should be much better tomorrow.”
Despite the 10-day layoff since closing out the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, James, power forward Kevin Love and center Tristan Thompson combined to score 90 points, pull down 30 rebounds and steal five passes in the lopsided victory.
“It's a good sign,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “I hope he starts to feel pretty good, but he always says that when he doesn't play, he feels worse. But last night was a good start for us, and having 15 points early on to set the tone was very good for us.”
James led the way with 38 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals over 42 minutes. James finished the game plus-16, the second-best margin of the game. It was James’ seventh straight playoff game with at least 30 points.
The last time the feat was accomplished was by Shaquille O’Neal during the 2002-2003 season.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” James said. “Like I said last night in the postgame interview, just trying to be aggressive on the road when you're starting the series off, and it worked out for our team.
“I was just trying to use angles, seeing how my defender is playing me, and just trying to counter if they take away one thing, being able to have a counter move and things of that nature. That's what the defense gave me, and just trying to be aggressive and trying to make it work for our ball club.”
Going forward, the key for James is handling the adjustments made by the Celtics and finding ways to counteract those changes in an effort to take home a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“There's going to be some adjustments made from both sides,” James said. “We have to be ready for it. Obviously, we don't know the exact adjustments, but we know they're going to make adjustments. That's what good teams do, and we have to be ready for whatever they bring to the table.
“I ain't got time to think about what we're doing. We need to figure out what we're going to do. We've got to continue to push forward. We've got to continue to be as good as we can be every day, so looking forward to the challenge.”
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