LeBron ups his game ahead of playoffs (Source: WOIO)
LeBron James was the last one left on the practice court on Friday, shouting "sit down!" to the basketballs as they flew towards the rim. The vast majority of them did, swishing through the hoop as LeBron worked his way around the three-point arc, his intensity growing with each shot, and each day.
James has been all business since returning to the Cavaliers, but he's taking it up a notch as they approach round one of the playoffs, and his teammates are feeding off of his energy.
"LeBron sets the tone," Cavaliers forward Kevin Love admitted, adding that "it's been this way all season, and you can see it even more now."
Head coach David Blatt reiterated those thoughts, saying "there aren't many players in this league...well, maybe a few, with LeBron's talent and experience at this level. But it's not just about LeBron."
It isn't just about LeBron, of course. Love and Kyrie Irving will have to complement James' game throughout the playoffs, as they've done throughout the season. But they're newcomers to the playoff party, and Irving, who's played on the U.S. Men's National team and has been the All-Star Game MVP, admitted, two days before his postseason debut, that this is as big as it's ever been for him.
"This is the biggest game I've ever played," Irving said with a smile, referring to Sunday's playoff opener against the Celtics.
So how will Irving and Love handle the pressure?
"They're excited, but we don't know," James said. "We still have another day to prepare."
All business. It's the mindset the Cavaliers need, especially with the high expectations surrounding them. And it starts at the top, with the man who's been there and done it, many times.