“What else do I have to prove,” James told cleveland.com Friday, after the Cavs had just ripped the Raptors’ souls out of their chests in Game 3, 115-94. James scored 35 points in the game, 13 in the fourth quarter.
“Seriously, what else would I have,” James said. “I’ve won championships, I won my first one and I’ve won for my teammates, I came home and won. There isn’t anything I have left to prove.”
James knows he has answered every question, met every challenge to define his legacy as one of the NBA’s very best. But if it sounds like James is on his way out of basketball, he isn’t. Not even close. Nor is he playing like it.
Through seven playoff games — all wins — James has scored 240 points. That’s the most since Kobe Bryant scored 240 through the first seven in 2008.
James is averaging 34.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 7.3 assists for the playoffs and is shooting .566. Heading into Friday’s game, he was already enjoying one of the finest starts to a postseason of anyone in history, and maintained that pace in Game 3.
“This is also my oldest start to a postseason, too,” he said.
The conversation grew out of an observation he made about teammate J.R. Smith, who has essentially changed his game this postseason to be a defender first. Smith took five shots and made three Friday (all 3-pointers), while the guy he guarded, Demar DeRozan, scored 37. But this was a discussion about more than a single game.
“It’s all about winning for him now,” James said. “That’s all he cares about. He’s won a championship, he’s made some money and now he can take care of his family. All that’s left for him is winning.”
From there James was asked how liberating it can be for a player to only have to worry about winning? When money and points and playing time and any number of other things that can bother a professional athlete melt away?
“If you’re not in a place where you can win, where you might not have the opportunity, then that might not be what it’s about for you,” James said. “For me, I’ve always won. Ever since I started playing this game, my first year in youth (basketball), we went 6-0 and won the championship. And then we won it again.”
Shootaround (May 6) — LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers have found their championship groove – NBA.com