LeBron says he had doubts Cavs could 'even make playoffs'
It was, as LeBron James said following the Game 7 win over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, a "Cedar Point" of a regular season for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season.
Meaning, of course, a rollercoaster ride, one which included several downhill trips toward rock-bottom.
"It was at points where, 'OK, will the Cavs even make the playoffs?'" James told Rachel Nichols of ESPN. "And I was like, 'OK, I am not settling for that conversation. Now that is just ridiculous. Now I have got to get into the postseason.'"
James was making reference to a difficult stretch for the Cavaliers in December and January, when they went 3-9 in a 12-game stretch. In that span, Cleveland bowed by 28 points to the Minnesota Timberwolves, were crushed by 34 points by the Toronto Raptors and were annihilated by the Oklahoma City Thunder in a nationally televised game at Quicken Loans Arena in which they surrendered 148 points.
James admitted he had to turn inward to escape the dark place he was in, one which was affecting his teammates.
"I was like, 'OK, I am not quite sure what we are going to do with this ballclub. We are not playing good basketball, but you can't sell yourself short,'" James told Nichols. "'You have so many people looking up to you, you have so many kids to inspire, and you, yourself, you have always talked about be as great as you can be every day,' so I kind of hit that switch before the trade deadline."
Then, of course, first-year general manager Koby Altman orchestrated the deals that brought in George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. And while there were more than a few more ups and downs, the end result has been the Cavaliers, led by James, in the Finals, for a fourth consecutive season.