In the wake of Kevin Love’s six-week absence for a minor left knee procedure, Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star forward and four-time MVP LeBron James offered solace for those thinking the team would miss a beat minus one of their big three.
“As long as I'm in the lineup, we've got a chance," James said Tuesday morning, according to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor. "We good. Kev is out for an extended period of time. J.R. (Smith) has been out, but I'm in the lineup. I'll be suiting up. We've got a chance against anybody. I ain't worried."
Any team James is on, indeed, has a chance. The King has made six consecutive NBA Finals appearances dating back to his first year with the Miami Heat in 2011. James is posting one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 25.8 points on 53.3 percent field goal shooting and a .376 clip from downtown.
He’s also posting 8.8 assists per game, a career-best, along with 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals a night.
As good as James has been though, Love’s injury is a blow nonetheless, and it isn’t the first time they’ve had to deal with injury. Cleveland pushed the Warriors to six games in the 2015-16 NBA Finals without both Love and Kyrie Irving.
"Sucks," James said of Love’s injury. "It's just our road every season. One of our key guys get hurt and this year has probably been the worst out of all years -- having our starting 2-guard out for so long and now having our All-Star power forward out for an extended period of time. It's just next man up and we just hope for a healthy and speedy recovery for our All-Star."
So sure, Cleveland might not get past the stacked Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals short J.R. Smith and Kevin Love. But The King is right. As long as he’s in the game, the Cavaliers have a chance.