Having LeBron James means that you are never fully out of a basketball game. This is something that we have seen time and time again throughout his career. But every time his team is down late in a game, whether it was during either of his stints in Cleveland or his time spent in Miami, the team LeBron is on has a trump card that the other generally cannot match.
It doesn’t get pulled out all the time, but on Tuesday night, the Knicks prodded LeBron and the Cavaliers ultimately responded. Blaming New York for wanting to send a message is understandable — the last few days of chatter regarding the Knicks passing on Dennis Smith Jr. for Frank Ntilikina has been kind of odd, even if LeBron swore it was a shot at Phil Jackson over everything else, plus the Knicks have been a surprise in the Eastern Conference this season and had the opportunity to show why against the three-time defending conference champs.
The Knicks even tried to get physical with LeBron in a way that seemed very, very calculated. Both Ntilikina and Enes Kanter tried to provoke LeBron, but it didn’t lead to a fight or anything. The New York faithful in Madison Square Garden showered him with boos all game. The Knicks still managed to get under his skin to an extent, as he picked up a technical and the entire Cavaliers team just seemed off for three quarters.