Richard Jefferson explains the real reason for LeBron James’ bizarre Game 3 effort

LeBron James had a bounce-back game Tuesday night to help the Cleveland Cavaliers take a 3-1 Eastern Conference Finals lead over the Boston Celtics, but questions still remain regarding James’ unusual effort in Game 3.

The four-time MVP was held to just 11 points and appeared to lack the aggressiveness he’s displayed throughout these playoffs, and James’ disappearing act spurred much speculation. Though Cavs forward Richard Jefferson said he knows the real reason for James’ lethargic performance.

Jefferson told FOX Sports Ohio that Cavs guard Deron Williams was battling a “bug” before Sunday’s Game 3, forcing him to miss shootaround. Jefferson said James later realized that he might have caught the same thing: LeBron had his own flu game.

“I know he won’t talk about it, so I’ll give my big guy a shout,” Jefferson said after the Cavs’ 112-99 win. “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 played a game-high 45 minutes in Cleveland’s Game 3 loss, hitting just 4 of 13 shots and getting to the free-throw line just six times despite playing at home. It was so bizarre that J.R. Smith questioned James’ aggressiveness after the game.

James responded Tuesday, scoring 34 points to help Cleveland move one win away from their third consecutive Finals appearance, where the Cavs would once again face the Golden State Warriors.