After getting swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Toronto shooting guard DeMar DeRozan gave LeBron James his props, saying that James is quicker, faster, and stronger than he was last year and that he’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
DeRozan might be on to something. The Cavs are 8-0 in the playoffs, and James is averaging 34.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.5 blocks this postseason.
Is this the best we’ve seen James play?
“I don’t know if I’d say the best,” former Cav and 13-year NBA veteran Zydrunas Ilgauskas said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “We’ve seen him do some amazing things. He’s in great physical shape obviously, but you can see he’s not the same athlete that he once was in his prime when he was younger. I’m not saying it in a bad way. It’s just (that) sometimes finishes at the rim and stuff like that is just not there all the time, especially when you don’t have your legs. He’ll probably be the first one to admit it.”
Maybe, maybe not. James is shooting 55.7 percent from the floor, including a career-postseason-best 46.8 percent from three.
“He’s shooting the ball extremely well,” Ilgauskas said. “That helps because teams cannot just leave him open. They have to close out on him in the perimeter, and that allows him to drive past them. He’s still one of the best in the league when he puts his shoulder down. At 6-8, 260 coming down the lane, there’s not a lot of people (that) can do anything about it. I do think that he’s playing amazingly, and he’s surrounded by a lot of good players, which gives him more freedom to do stuff that he needs to do.”
James, 32, is seeking his seventh straight NBA Finals. The Cavs will play the winner of Boston/Washington in the Eastern Conference Finals. That series is tied at 2-2, with Game 5 slated for Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.