The Spike Game: LeBron’s greatest night as a Cavalier

Going into Game 2 of the 2015 Finals on Sunday, a 2-0 Warriors lead was seen by many as a foregone conclusion. 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists later, LeBron James was memorably spiking the ball high off the Oracle Arena hardwood and into the Oakland sky with the series tied at 1-1 and his greatest night as a Cavalier in the books.

This was a special performance, and it stemmed from his improved shot selection.

I wrote after Game 1 about two competing versions of LeBron on offense, about how too many Bad LeBron sightings kept his 44-point night from being one of his better Finals performances.

In Game 2, he set the tone with a first half that was Good LeBron in the extreme: a player making the most of his talents as a passer, scorer and dominant physical force, carrying his team to a surprising lead.

In the first quarter, he attacked the paint time and again both off the dribble and out of the post-up. He took ten shots and I had to compile them all in one YouTube video because every single one of them was smart:

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Is Kyrie Irving a franchise player?

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A year ago, Kyrie Irving was the toast of the NBA – a 23 points per game scorer and the leading “clutch” performer in the league at just 20 years old. “It’s Kyrie Irving’s world; soon we’ll all be living in it,” proclaimed one excited reporter. In the offseason Irving was ranked by ESPN as the 8th best player in the league.

What happened?

Firstly, the hype was somewhat unfounded – many were basing their inflated opinions of Irving on stats and highlight plays alone rather than a deep understanding of his game and his influence on a team that remained heavily under .500.

Secondly, and most maddeningly, Kyrie has not only failed to make a leap in his third season as a pro, he has actually regressed from last year.

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