There may be a valid reason for the lackluster performance from LeBron James in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
According to teammate Richard Jefferson, James got sick from a bug that was going around and caused backup Deron Williams to miss a shootaround before the game.
Jefferson made the claim on "Was It Something I Said" on Fox Sports Ohio after Game 4.
"I know he won’t talk about it, so I’ll give my big guy a shout. Deron Williams missed shoot around this morning because he had like a little bug, really lethargic, had no energy. And I think that’s what ‘Bron had. And sometimes these little bugs can go around. And [James] was like, dude when Deron didn’t show up to shoot around, it kind of started clicking in his head. Because for him it was like, 'I don’t know why I was so lethargic, why I had no energy, I had nothing.' And so, these little things happen. [There] was no panic. Look, he was lethargic, they hit a bunch of tough shots, if Marcus Smart doesn’t go 7-for-10 from three, then we’re not even talking about it."
James scored only 11 points, including none in the fourth quarter, of the 111–108 loss to the Boston Celtics, breaking Cleveland's 13-game postseason winning streak. He shot 4–13 from the field and also had six turnovers.
James made no mention of being sick in the press conference after the game, instead saying about his performance that he just "didn't have it."
The four-time NBA MVP bounced back in Game 4, scoring 34 points in helping the Cavaliers to a 112–99 victory and a 3–1 series lead.
Cleveland can close out the series with a victory in Game 5 on Thursday.