LeBron James’ explanation for his uncharacteristically poor performance in the Cavaliers’ stunning Game 3 loss to the Celtics was simply “I didn’t have it.”

“I had a tough game, period,” James said after the Cavs’ 111-108 loss to the Celtics, who were missing their star player, Isaiah Thomas.

It only felt like the Cavs were missing their top guy, James. He was held to 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting with six turnovers. He didn’t score in the fourth quarter and tallied just three points in the second half. He was 0-of-4 from 3-point range and 3-of-6 at the foul line.

This was James’ lowest scoring playoff game since he scored seven on May 28, 2014 in the conference finals with the Miami Heat against Indiana.

“My teammates did a great job of keeping us in the game, building that lead,” James said, referring to a 21-point advantage in the third quarter the Cavs squandered. “But me personally, I didn’t have it. That’s all I’ve got to say about my performance.”

James’ rough night continued after the final buzzer. Walking toward the podium in the bowels of The Q, a heckler emerged from the Lexus lounge and James snapped back at him and began to walk toward him — according to numerous eye witnesses.

James asked the heckler what he had done and the heckler replied “I played at Hiram.” The heckler was removed by Cavs security. A Cavs official spokesman confirmed most of the eyewitnesses’ account — the “Hiram” quip was reported by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

As for the basketball side of it, James’ clunker was as stunning as the Cavs losing to Boston sans Thomas and after two wins by an average of 28.5 points in the series. He entered averaging 34.3 points and and shooting .569 from the field during the playoffs, with streaks of 10 games with at least 25 points and eight with at least 30.

 

“I mean, he’s human, he’s going to have a night like this,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. “He didn’t shoot the ball well and we still had a 20-point lead.”

 

This was the largest lead a James team has ever blown in the playoffs.Celtics coach Brad Stevens said his team switched a little less on defense, and playing “bigger guards” — primarily Marcus Smart instead of the injured 5-9 Thomas — gave Boston more bodies to use on James.

James said he didn’t see anything different from Boston in terms of schemes or coverages, and that “my performance personally was all on me.”

“Right when you think you figure something out, he just kills you,” Stevens said. “He’s the best player in the world. I’m not going to criticize him one bit. I don’t know what to say other than he’s a handful.”

James was Cleveland’s worst starter. Kyrie Irving scored 29 points to go with seven assists. Kevin Love tallied 28 points and 10 rebounds. Tristan Thompson produced 18 points and 13 rebounds, and J.R. Smith added 13 points and rebounds.

But there were breakdowns all over the place defensively for Cleveland. The Celtics made 18 3-pointers and Smart connected on seven. Avery Bradley was wide open on the game-winning 3-pointer.

“I think it’s great — what happened hurts. It’s a loss in the postseason,” James said. “But I’m glad it kind of hurt, that it happened the way it did — let our foot off the gas a little bit, didn’t keep the pressure on them like we have been accustomed to.

LeBron James’ explanation for his uncharacteristically poor performance in the Cavaliers’ stunning Game 3 loss to the Celtics was simply “I didn’t have it.”

“I had a tough game, period,” James said after the Cavs’ 111-108 loss to the Celtics, who were missing their star player, Isaiah Thomas.

It only felt like the Cavs were missing their top guy, James. He was held to 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting with six turnovers. He didn’t score in the fourth quarter and tallied just three points in the second half. He was 0-of-4 from 3-point range and 3-of-6 at the foul line.

This was James’ lowest scoring playoff game since he scored seven on May 28, 2014 in the conference finals with the Miami Heat against Indiana.

“My teammates did a great job of keeping us in the game, building that lead,” James said, referring to a 21-point advantage in the third quarter the Cavs squandered. “But me personally, I didn’t have it. That’s all I’ve got to say about my performance.”

As for the basketball side of it, James’ clunker was as stunning as the Cavs losing to Boston sans Thomas and after two wins by an average of 28.5 points in the series. He entered averaging 34.3 points and and shooting .569 from the field during the playoffs, with streaks of 10 games with at least 25 points and eight with at least 30.

“I mean, he’s human, he’s going to have a night like this,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. “He didn’t shoot the ball well and we still had a 20-point lead.”

This was the largest lead a James team has ever blown in the playoffs.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said his team switched a little less on defense, and playing “bigger guards” — primarily Marcus Smart instead of the injured 5-9 Thomas — gave Boston more bodies to use on James.

James said he didn’t see anything different from Boston in terms of schemes or coverages, and that “my performance personally was all on me.”

“Right when you think you figure something out, he just kills you,” Stevens said. “He’s the best player in the world. I’m not going to criticize him one bit. I don’t know what to say other than he’s a handful.”

James was Cleveland’s worst starter. Kyrie Irving scored 29 points to go with seven assists. Kevin Love tallied 28 points and 10 rebounds. Tristan Thompson produced 18 points and 13 rebounds, and J.R. Smith added 13 points and rebounds.

But there were breakdowns all over the place defensively for Cleveland. The Celtics made 18 3-pointers and Smart connected on seven. Avery Bradley was wide open on the game-winning 3-pointer.

“I think it’s great — what happened hurts. It’s a loss in the postseason,” James said. “But I’m glad it kind of hurt, that it happened the way it did — let our foot off the gas a little bit, didn’t keep the pressure on them like we have been accustomed to.”

CLEVELAND.COM

 

 

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