Skip Bayless on LeBron and the Cavs’ playoff path: ‘The East has turned into a joke!’

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In his discussion with Shannon Sharpe and Joy Taylor surrounding the current plethora of injuries crippling the NBA, Skip Bayless reveals why he believes LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have a much easier path to the NBA finals than most other contending teams.


- Shannon, the East has turned into a joke. It's over.

SHANNON SHARPE: That's what LeBron did.

- Just call it off. They don't even need to play the playoffs.

SHANNON SHARPE: LeBron did that.

- No, the injury gods did it to Boston.


- That's what happened.

- OK, where's the injury gods last year or the year before that?

- It doesn't matter. We're talking about this year.


- Yeah. And so, in the West, look what the injury gods have decreed, let there not be Golden State. And how about the Houston Rockets-- with two guys-- none of us trust in the postseason. Every time we bring up Houston, you say, I just can't buy in to James Harden and Chris Paul III in the postseason, right?


- Cause, I don't buy into him. And now my Spurs have a really good team without the star of the team, who has crumbled under the pressure to be the leader and to live up to being an MVP candidate. And he has checked out on the San Antonio Spurs.


- Checked out.

- Y'all just called the AL yesterday from Milwaukee, a team that we beat the brakes off of.

- I know. That's what it's come to. We guts it up. We had the game of the year.

The best regular-season game I saw, all year long, was played, Friday night, at San Antonio, and it went to overtime. And that Utah team is really good. And I tweeted this, and many, many people responded because I got lots of volume off this tweet.

And I said, if Utah were in the East, Utah would be in the NBA Finals. That's how good Utah is. Because Utah is better than Cleveland, but Utah is stuck in the Western Conference playoffs. And they might get--

- Let me ask you a question. When Dennis Schroder dropped 46 on him, did you tweet that? And the Atlanta Hawks-- who's the bottom feeder in the East-- had went to Utah and beat the brakes off them. What did you tweet about that?

- Utah Jazz have now won 23 of 27 games. And Donovan Mitchell, I told you-- you tried to say Jokic is better than Donovan Mitchell, which is the biggest yoke you've ever told on this show.


- Ohh. Listen, Donovan Mitchell is for real.

SHANNON SHARPE: He's a good player.

- He, oh no, he's not just a good player. He's going to be a superstar in this league.

- And they doing all this--

- And he played the game of the year against my Spurs. My Spurs guts it up, and guts it out in overtime, and won their sixth straight game. And then had to turn around and go to Milwaukee. And they laid a big egg in the first quarter. In the third quarter, they were, just, out of gas.

So they're shot. They're out. See you later. No threat. They would be a big threat to your Cavaliers if they got to the Finals.


SKIP BAYLESS: They got the kryptonite.

- Can we stop doing this? LeBron James wins. It's always the reason why we try to diminish why he won. Well, the injury. Though, oh well, they won 70. When Draymond got suspended--

SKIP BAYLESS: These are facts. These are facts.

- Or when Steph was a little under the weather. I don't want to hear that, Skip. They-- hold on.

- You know, speaking of under the weather, that's what I don't want to hear from LeBron James after a game at Brooklyn.

SHANNON SHARPE: He was sick.

- And he tells Allie Clifton, right after the game, I was under the weather and I couldn't sleep. I only slept for three hours.

- He didn't sleep a wink.

- You're trying to embellish a game at Brooklyn.


- You're trying to create sympathy for yourself at Brooklyn. This is what--

- You want him to lie?

- He's the biggest self-promoter in the history of basketball, [INAUDIBLE] a guy.

- We ask, Joy, we ask our athletes to be honest and not just give us coach's spiel. Ah, don't give us that Tom Brady, aw, gee whiz, golly gee, guy.

SKIP BAYLESS: We want excuses. Give us excuses.

- If LeBron say, guys, I don't know how I slept, (COUGHS). I don't know how I slept, but you know, only got three hours, of (COUGHS), three hours of sleep last night. But I came out--

- And I don't know how I did it today against the Brooklyn Nets.

- [INAUDIBLE]. The Brooklyn Nets play hard.

SKIP BAYLESS: The Brooklyn Nets?

- They play hard.

- Oh yeah, they play hard and they got nothing. They got nothing.

SHANNON SHARPE: Oh I mean, look. Look. Well, lookit.

- Really?

- But everybody, lookit. I mean, look at these numbers. Demurer Carroll had 18. Hollis-Jefferson had 15.

- Mozgov, DNP, coach's decision. Jahlil Okafor, DNP, coach's decision. LeBron had a superhighway to the basket, yesterday. And you know what I love about his game lately? He's actually starting to take my advice and attack the basket, repeatedly.

SHANNON SHARPE: You know what I like about his game? You know what I like about his game, lately? The officials are starting to call a foul when he get hit upside his head. Finally.

- Bully ball. LeBron-- nobody can play bully ball better than LeBron especially against these Eastern Conference bottom-feeders like the Brooklyn Nets. And then, yesterday, all you need is love. Is he not back?

SHANNON SHARPE: Yeah, look up in the air.

- Look at this. 20 points and 15 rebounds, and he led both teams at plus 17 in plus-minus. That's pretty great.


- But the other number that, just, jumps off the page to me. Joy, guess who led all players, on the floor, in minutes played yesterday? The sick boy, LeBron James. He should've stayed home with mama.

- No, hold on, whoa, whoa, whoa.

- He should have stayed home with mama.

- You know what happened, is that we played Phoenix on Friday night, and we were able to take the fourth quarter off. So we knew we had to have something in the tank. So that's what we did.

- He played 38 minutes.

SHANNON SHARPE: He played 28 on Friday.

- Joy, guess who leads the entire NBA in minutes played?


- The entire NBA-- what is he doing? The injury gods are saying, here, LeBron, we have cleared your path. And he says, I gotta play 38 minutes.

- Nobody had a problem when Michael Jordan was playing all these minutes at the very same age as LeBron. Nobody said when he was playing 38 minutes, when Kobe Bryant was playing 38 minutes, when Alan Iverson was playing all these minutes. Nobody said a word. Now they have a problem. Oh, now he's stat chasing.

- He leads the league in minutes played-- wait a second-- in his 15th season--

SHANNON SHARPE: Hold on, let me ask you a question.

- --15th season.

- Michael Jordan never led the league in scoring-- I mean, in minutes played.

- I don't care. This is LeBron in his 15th season.

- OK, but you have to go back. So you look at his age. Look at Michael Jordan when he was the age of 33.

You can't look at it in years. Because Michael Jordan was not the player that LeBron is, at 18, so he had to go to school. LeBron was too good.