Since the Cavaliers overhauled their roster James is averaging almost a triple-double every night, working with his new teammates in an effort to reach the NBA Finals for the eighth year in a row. Their absences further depleted a lineup that was already missing two key players.
"He wanted it", Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said of James' late-game execution. "But just from watching it on the court it seemed like, 'Oh, man, he just makes the game so much easier for the guys he's out there with because he can do everything.' And it's true".
After failing to score more than 9 points in the previous three games, Jokic busted out of his slump with a dominant performance.
The Lakers replaced Nance in the starting lineup with Julius Randle about three weeks before the trade, and Randle has been one of their most consistent players.
"I've still got too much work to do here", James said, referring to the Cavs' current season.
We probably wouldn't go that far, but the fact that it's close is awesome. Only two games separate the third seed from the fifth, and only 4.5 games separate them from the eighth.
"But now Los Angeles is giving plenty reason for stars to hop on board". That gave them a commanding 35-17 advantage when the horn sounded, once again putting the Cavaliers in a huge hole. I handle my business accordingly, and when that time comes, I'll take care of that.
In the second period, the Cavs twice managed to get their deficit down to 10 points, but a 12-3 Clippers surge pushed the margin back up to 19 at 56-37.
Cleveland also finished with 18 fast break points against the Clippers and is now averaging 16.2 fast break points since January 1 (fourth-most in NBA).
"No", he said before Cleveland's morning shoot-around at UCLA, ahead of Friday night's meeting with the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.
However he's unwilling to allow a major upcoming decision - whether to opt out of his contract or not - to distract his team's pursuit of another championship.
With both the Wizards and Pacers embarking on stretches in which they'll face multiple playoff teams and contenders, it would behoove Cleveland to take care of its business against the likes of the Clippers, who are now eighth in the West and the sub-.500 Lakers.