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NBA Playoffs Day 20: The King

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LeBron has continued his greatness in this year’s playoffs

Toronto Raptors v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game One Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Cavaliers (2) vs Raptors (3)
6:00 CST at Toronto
Cavaliers leading 2-0

LeBron James is one the best players to ever grace an NBA court. This fact has been argued for and against since LeBron has entered the league, or at least it was argued about his potential to be one of these very best players. Was he too soft? Did he pass too much instead of creating his own shot? Does he have the mental fortitude for greatness?

Now, we just have LeBron, who at age 32 in the midst of yet another title run, is averaging 34.2 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game, 7.3 assists per game, 2.7 steals per game, and 1.8 blocks per game.

LeBron now has more post-season points than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, more postseason assists than Jason Kidd, more postseason rebounds than Hakeem Olajuwon, and more post-season steals than John Stockton. Now, LeBron has played in many many more post-season games than many of those players, but you do not accumulate the raw stats he has without simply being transcendent.

Tonight is the first game in Toronto and the Raptors will have to hope to claw their way back into the series. However, if LeBron is still locked in and the Cavs are firing away successfully from the threepoint line, then there isn’t much any team can do that isn’t named the Golden State Warriors.

Hopefully, the new acquisitions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker will make a difference, as clearly Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are not going to be able to lift this team above the Cavs without some serious help.

Kyrie Irving is reportedly a game-time decision, which could also be a factor tonight.

Spurs (2) vs Rockets (3)
8:30 CST, at Houston
Series tied 1-1

This series, so far, has been defined by blowouts, with the Rockets taking a commanding Game 1 lead that was matched by the Spurs dominance in Game 2. The real question for the series will be how much help does Kawhi Leonard get from his teammates, especially now that Tony Parker is out for the playoffs. While Parker has certainly been a sieve on defense, the Spurs are light on offensive creation outside of Leonard. The rest of the players will need to step up and Greg Popovich will likely need to continue to be creative with his lineups in order to match the Rocket’s tendency for small-ball.

Houston, for their part, will try to continue to force the tempo and make the Spurs play their game, as it is to their benefit to force the more ground-bound Spurs off the court as their depth and roster is not constructed in order to play this sort of fast-paced threes focused series. While Kawhi may be able to dominate a game single-handily, the Rockets are just not a good matchup for LaMarcus Aldridge, who needs a resurgence if the Spurs are going to continue to be competitive.

This will be the game thread for tonight’s games.

Happy Friday!