LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers enter the NBA Finals as Las Vegas underdogs, but if the Cavs can somehow take a 3-2 series lead, you probably shouldn’t bet against them in a Game 6 in Cleveland.
“It’s over,” Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan host Dustin Fox said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show, referring to that possible scenario. “It’s over.”
If the Cavs take a 3-2 series lead, Fox said that Game 6 in Cleveland would be “probably the hardest ticket to get ever – maybe in the history of sports.” The city of Cleveland hasn’t won a championship in any sport in more than a half century.
What a story it would be if James could end that drought in his first year back in a Cavs uniform.
“Yeah, I don’t think there’s any way LeBron would lose a close-out game,” Fox said. “We know how dominant he is in close-out games in general, but to be able to have that game at home as a home game? No, I don’t think there’s any way he would lose that game.”
James has a losing record in the NBA Finals (2-3), but he’s a four-time MVP with two rings. He’s carried teams to the Finals. He’s carried teams to championships. And yet, some people still say he isn’t clutch.
“He’s probably the most-criticized athlete we’ve ever seen,” Fox said. “I don’t think LeBron James can win for losing, to be honest with you. The guy, he does everything that he can. Late in games, he makes plays. If he doesn’t take the shot, he gets criticized for passing. If he misses the shot, he gets criticized for missing. But all along, he’s basically passing Jordan for clutchness, so to speak.”
James, of course, hit a corner jumper at the buzzer to beat the Bulls in Chicago in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The shot allowed the Cavs to even the series and eventually win it, 4-2. If James misses that shot, maybe the Cavs lose in overtime. Maybe they’re down 3-1. Maybe they don’t recover.
Fox believes that jumper “put (the Cavs) in the Finals” – even though it was still the conference semis.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt how clutch he has been,” Fox said. “It’s just a matter of how critical people want to be. Do you like the guy? He’s been a villain. When he went to Miami, he was vilified. And now you either love him or you don’t love him. I just don’t get it. As fans, as basketball fans, you should just sit back and enjoy his greatness because he’s been phenomenal, to be honest.”
Fox said James will likely have to be “superhuman” for the Cavs to win this series, but as we’ve seen, that’s certainly within the realm of possibilities. So is a healthier Kyrie Irving (knee), who missed two games against Atlanta. Fox estimated that Irving was only at 60 or 70 percent in that series.
“If he’s anywhere close to 85 percent, 80 percent (in the Finals), I think the Cavs have a very realistic shot of winning this series,” Fox said, “and maybe winning it easier than people think.”