Wednesday night marks the biggest regular-season game in a long time for the Boston Celtics, but Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James is on record as saying it’s just another game.
And for him, he’s right.
James ruffled the feathers of Celtics fans (and perhaps C’s players themselves) by completely and utterly downplaying Wednesday night’s showdown at TD Garden.
“Their crowd is going to be great, and it’s a very good team we’re going to be playing against (Wednesday),” he said. “We know that. Taking nothing from them, they’ve been playing some great ball, but I’m not one to get caught up in the regular season. I’m sorry. I’ve been to six straight Finals, man. I’m the last person to ask about a regular-season game, dude. Sorry.”
Don’t be sorry, LeBron. There’s no need to apologize.
You might not like the way he expressed his opinion, and it does come off as, well, kind of insufferable. It’s LeBron’s most annoying trait. For as otherworldly as he is on the basketball court, he just has this way of communicating his point in a manner that suggests he’s above everyone else. It’s rather irritating, and James often lacks a desired amount of self-awareness, but when you’ve been heralded as the second coming of Basketball Jesus since you were in middle school, your sense of self-worth might be just a smidge inflated.
Delivery aside, he’s not wrong. It’s April 5. What the hell does LeBron James care about an April 5 game? What’s the worst that can happen? The Cavs lose and ultimately relinquish the Eastern Conference’s top seed to the Celtics? Big deal. Even with homecourt advantage, Boston would be the underdog in a playoff series against a Cleveland team clicking on all cylinders.
And that’s the key here. An April 5 game isn’t important to LeBron and the Cavs for what it represents in the standings. Any and all importance is reserved for getting the team ready for the playoffs, whether that’s through resting or tinkering with the lineup, or making any other needed adjustments to ensure that when the postseason finally gets here, the Cavs have assumed their rightful place as defending NBA champions and Eastern Conference favorites. There’s nothing the Celtics can do Wednesday night, short of knee-capping LeBron, to change that.
And in some ways, downplaying the magnitude of Wednesday’s game also takes pressure off the Cavs. It has been a struggle for Cleveland of late — 11 losses in 21 games — but it appears James and Co. are starting to turn the corner. Winners of their last three, the Cavs probably feel the best they’ve felt in quite a while, and they’re healthy, too. They have their sights set on something much bigger than a Wednesday night game in early April at TD Garden.
The Celtics also have their sights set on bigger and better things, but this game ultimately means much more to them than it does to James and the Cavs. LeBron has been there, done that … dude.
Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images
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