LeBron James is having his best season in years. His 26 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds a game would be MVP-ish if there wasn’t a guy throwing up a triple-double and having a historic season in Oklahoma City. James is having the best rebounding and assist seasons of his career, his best scoring and shooting (both from the field and three-point range) season since his last year in Miami, and whatever explosion he lacked in his first year back in Cleveland has seemingly returned.
On the flip side, as a team LeBron James and his crew are having the worst regular season they’ve had in years. The Cavs have the fewest wins a LeBron-led team has had since the 2007-08 season. It could be argued that the low win total is a result of parity in the Eastern Conference and a swelling middle class that the East hasn’t seen in years. Maybe. But with their play as of late it could also be argued that Cleveland is a part of that middle class, and a LeBron team is ripe for the taking in a seven game series for the first since his last Cleveland regime.
LeBron doesn’t seem too worried, both laughing off the importance of a regular season game and declaring his team playoff ready in the past week. He even shut it down early, opting to party in Miami and take the last two games off.
His confidence is not without substance, as James has ran the Eastern Conference this decade, including six straight Finals. But it’s not just the results of his Eastern Conference playoff trips that matter, it’s the dominance. The Cavs are 24-4 in the East playoffs since his return, and no opponent has had an answer for LeBron’s versatility and ability to pick teams apart with both his scoring and his passing. If they forced him to shoot, he simply sliced the defenses apart with passing. If they pressed up, he attacked the basket. He’s been clutch, knocking down game winners and daggers galore.
Simply put, nobody in the East has been a match for LeBron, even in stretches where he’s been without Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, or both.