Amico: An angry LeBron an even better LeBron
If LeBron James truly is an MVP candidate, he'll just keep doing what he's doing in the postseason.
Actually, never mind. LeBron isn't an MVP candidate. At least not according to the people who watch and write about (and hold all the MVP votes for) the NBA.
But forget all that.
As James asked after learning he's not one of the three finalists for the honor: "What are going to do about it at the end of the day?"
If you're James, the answer is hammer home a resounding performance with 30 points in a 130-86 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
James and the Cavs lead the series, 2-0. Game 3 is in Cleveland on Sunday (8:30 p.m., TNT). James is averaging 34.8 points in the playoffs. What chance do the Celtics really have?
And league MVP? That's not really one of James' primary concerns. Or so he says.
“My only job is to try to be the MVP for this team every night, put my teammates and our franchise in position to be successful and compete for a championship," James told reporters after Game 2. "I know what I bring to the table. This league knows what I bring to the table. That's for you guys to write about. It's not for me to be concerned about.”
And write about it we will. And unconcerned James will remain.
Or at least he'll act that way off the floor.
On the floor, it's pretty evident James is out to prove that not only is he the best, but so is his team. That point is being proven so far, in the East half of the bracket, and especially, in this series.
KING OF DETERMINATION
James and the Cavaliers have won 12 straight postseason games, dating back to last year's playoffs and championship. One more and they own the NBA record.
At times, the Cavs look like the most powerful team in the league, a team that no one will be able to touch.
Then the next night Golden State plays and you begin to realize how remarkable a Finals matchup it will make. Cleveland is a Goliath. Golden State is a Goliath. It's not often you see a matchup of Goliath vs. Goliath. Usually, someone is an underdog.
And just when you think the Warriors simply have more firepower -- well, there's always the LeBron factor. He has players of his own around him in Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and others.
But it is LeBron who can conquer when all else seems overly challenging, perhaps even lost.
That's especially the case when James finds a reason to feel slighted. It may just be coincidence, because he's always great. But James and his team were never better than their 44-point basketball massacre of Boston.
Maybe that's why James' teammate, J.R. Smith, smiled and told reporters, "I like it this way."
Smith was referring to James not be among the three finalists for league MVP -- a fairly odd list that was released by the NBA on Friday, just before tipoff.
Smith was referring to the idea that perhaps all of this inspires James and enables him to lift his team to even taller heights.
Now, James and the Cavs only need to fight complacency to make quick work of the Celtics and move on to the next round. That should give them an ample amount of time to think up something to miff James even more.