It turns out, reports of LeBron's demise were absolutely, positively exaggerated. In the week since the critics started whispering that he left his MVP-level game in Miami, James has thrown down 35, 41, and in Monday night's blowout of the Hornets, 27. And oh yeah, he also dished out 13 assists.
Monday's stat sheet showed us what we've been expecting on most nights. LeBron going for 27 and 13, Kevin Love adding 22 along with 18 boards, and Kyrie chipping in with 16. Obviously, there are nights when Irving will lead the way, and occasionally we'll see Dion come off the bench and light it up, as he did in Brooklyn on December 8th, when he dropped 26 on the Nets.
But contrary to those who think LeBron is passing the mantle to Kyrie, this is still LBJ's team. And it's best served when he's hitting in the high-20's, and spreading the wealth, not on the nights when he's hitting for 41.
LeBron has stressed from the beginning that it starts with defense (wouldn't Mike Brown be proud?), and Monday's win over the Hornets was the perfect illustration. 17 of Love's 18 rebounds were defensive rebounds, and we've seen how that can lead to instant offense, once the Cavs' power forward turns quarterback and throws deep.
23 games in, and the Cavaliers have won 14 of 'em, including 9 of their last 11. And the secret to their success isn't hard to figure out.