The Cleveland Cavaliers got a brief glimpse at their worst-case scenario for the remainder of the NBA Finals. LeBron James picked up an injury during the first quarter of Game 3 when he was blindsided by Tristan Thompson. LeBron had no idea his center was right there, and he took a shoulder right to the jaw.
The good news for Cleveland fans is LeBron didn’t come out – he laid on the floor in obvious pain for a minute or two, but managed to get up and shake off whatever was bugging him. On the first possession after play resumed, LeBron scored and got an and-one. A few possessions later, LeBron ignited the crowd at Oracle Arena with this thunderous dunk.
It kind of goes without saying, but if there’s one thing that the Cavaliers absolutely cannot afford, it’s for the best player in the world to have to miss any time due to an injury. Cleveland already faces something of an uphill battle to win this series considering Golden State’s 2-0 lead, but you can make the case that it would be impossible for them to come back without LeBron on the floor. While the minute or so that LeBron was down was probably terrifying, every Cavs fan probably let out one of the biggest sighs of relief of their lives when he got back up.