LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were off Tuesday night as Washington's John Wall and Boston's Isaiah Thomas delivered an epic duel in the other Eastern Conference semifinal matchup - but according to Colin Cowherd, Game 2 of the Wizards-Celtics series told us more about LeBron than you might realize.
Certain athletes can dominate a sport without even playing
“You know Tiger Woods was great because in his prime, for 10 years Tiger Woods would affect people on golf holes in which he wasn’t even playing. Tiger was so good and so dominating that Tiger Woods would go into a Sunday trailing by two strokes, the lead golfer would be in front of him two holes away but could hear Tiger’s gallery roaring and would realize Tiger was now catching fire. And the golfer in front of Tiger would implode. That’s power. That’s greatness.
"When you can dominate a room and not be in it. When you can dominate a sport and not be playing.
"This is the greatness of LeBron.”
John David MercerUSA TODAY Sports
Elite NBA players logging huge minutes have been falling apart late in games
“Last night I’m watching the Celtics and the Wizards, and now I’ve seen Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City and John Wall of Washington just fall apart late in the game.
"‘John’s numbers are amazing!’ Yeah, they were in the first quarter, and so were Russell Westbrook’s.
"But in the fourth quarter of that Houston series, Westbrook just kept falling apart. And last night, John Wall was bad late.
"Isaiah Thomas has a little energy late. Well, that’s because John Wall entered the fourth quarter having already played over 33 minutes. Isaiah at 28. That’s a big deal in the NBA.”
Winslow TownsonUSA TODAY Sports
LeBron James isn't getting enough credit
“We have seen, now, multiple games and multiple examples where two of the most impressive point guards in the league - John Wall and Russell Westbrook - implode, play poorly. The spotlight’s on and they wilt late.
"And it made me think of something. One of the great things about LeBron - and he doesn’t get credit, but it’s remarkable - is his durability and his size. He’s 6-foot-9, 255.
"Here’s the NBA’s minutes leaders in the playoffs: LeBron leads the NBA, 43.5 minutes a game. Paul George is second, he’s out of the playoffs. The Greek Freak’s third, he’s out of the playoffs. Marc Gasol, fourth, he’s out of the playoffs. Jimmy Butler’s out, Russell Westbrook’s out. The other two? John Wall, Bradley Beal, about to be out.
"What does that tell you?”
Thomas SheaThomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
No other player can handle this type of workload
“Only LeBron James has shown the ability to play huge minutes and still be great late.
"John Wall ends up with 40 and 13. How is he doing with three minutes left in an overtime? Bad.
"How was Westbrook late in those games against Houston? Atrocious.
"It illustrates how difficult it is to play 43 minutes at this pace in the NBA now. I mean, it’s a track meet every night. And to still be great and have the energy late?”
Greg M. CooperGreg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
LeBron is Superman, and no one else is close
“And it shows you if you’re going to build around a point guard - Westbrook - how limited you are. They can’t [take it]. They’re smaller people. They simply can’t take the beating.
"This is why I’ve said LeBron is Superman, everybody else is the Green Lantern, or The Flash, or Aquaman.
"Aquaman was awesome on a surfboard. You got him to the beach, he was useless. John Wall is The Flash, he’s really fast. He can’t stop bullets and he can’t fly.
"I like the Green Lantern too, but you take away his ring? He’s just a really good landscaper. All these guys have strengths, but Superman can do it all. He’s as fast as The Flash, as strong as The Hulk.”
"In those minutes, in that fourth quarter, Westbrook and John Wall - two of the best players in this entire league - late in games are not the same player.
"LeBron showed you his greatness last night and didn’t have to play.”