During the 2017-18 NBA season, LeBron James was arguably playing better than ever for the Cleveland Cavaliers despite being 33 years old and in his 15th season.
Even with Kyrie Irving’s trade request that sent him to the Boston Celtics and roster turnover during the season, James led the Cavs to their fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance and his eighth in a row overall.
Playing in all 82 games for the first time in his career, James averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds (tied career high) and 9.1 assists (career high) in 36.9 minutes.
As James is due to miss an 11th game and counting with a groin strain<, a member of the Cavaliers believes plenty was taken out of the 34-year-old during his final season in Cleveland, via to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
And on Sunday, before his former team beat Los Angeles 101-95 at Staples Center in a game against the LeBron-less Lakers, a member of the Cavaliers told ESPN he thought last season “took a lot out of” the now 34-year-old James.
With James playing without a ‘Big Three’ for the first time in eight seasons, there was likely extra motivation for him to show he could win without two All-Star players. As the Cavaliers were left with just Kevin Love and role players around James, he continued his dominance in the Eastern Conference before being swept by the Golden State Warriors.
Since James reportedly is willing to miss multiple weeks to fully recover from his groin injury, there is pressure on the Los Angeles Lakers young core to win now. The Utah Jazz have moved a half-game ahead for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
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