James has largely been superhuman throughout his career, but even he has limits. James is 32 years old and has played more than 41,000 regular-season minutes and nearly 9,000 playoff minutes. He appeared to be visibly exhausted at times when he came to the bench, especially in the third quarter of Game 2. Averaging a triple-double and guarding one of the best scorers of all time can do that.
He dismissed any stamina issues when speaking to media members Wednesday, but James’ numbers from the second half of Game 2 show he may have to save something for the reserve tank.
That just didn’t happen nearly enough. But the Celtics are not alone. No one has had an answer for James lately.
“He’s been so special for us,” teammate Kevin Love said. “We know what he brings to this game as a whole, brings to this league, our organization. Every night he brings it for us, sets the tone, and it’s no different. There are so many different milestones and accolades that have come his way, and me being here for, this is my third year now, having seen him accomplish so much is truly special.”
These are heady times for James. He is in that rare career space in which he still has his peak athleticism while also reaching the heights of his mental ability. He can read a defense in an instant, and has the spring in his legs to react quickly. And against every defender he has faced, he has been able to create a mismatch — able to outthink as well as outperform.
“I have always been so impressed with his mental understanding Cheap International Soccer Jerseys of the game,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “He’s always picking the matchup that he wants. It’s hard to believe, but he’s better than when I got into the league and I didn’t think he could get any better than that.”