INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Only 6 percent of teams to trail 0-2 in an NBA playoff series have come back to win. LeBron James’ teams have performed markedly better, under those circumstances, winning 33 percent of the time (2-for-4) after being in a 0-2 hole.
Despite his relative success with the odds stacked against him, James said he hasn’t been resting easy as the Cleveland Cavaliers head into Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics on Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).
“I mean, I lose sleep,” James said after shootaround Saturday morning. “I mean, at the end of the day, when you lose any game in the postseason, [you lose sleep], so it’s never comfortable. Playoffs are never comforted. There’s nothing about the playoffs that’s comfortable until you either win it all or you lose and go into the summer. So for me, it’s always day-to-day grind to figure out ways that you can be better.”
James has been a notch below his best against the Celtics, putting up 28.5 points, 10.5 assists, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game but shooting 46.7 percent from the field (31.3 percent from 3) with zero steals and 6.5 turnovers per game. Those are still effective numbers overall, but James averaged 34 points, 11.3 assists, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 1.0 blocks and just 2.0 turnovers per game on 55.3 percent shooting in the Cavaliers’ sweep of the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Cavs’ star was asked what can get his team’s offense back on track after it put up only 88.5 points per game on 40.3 percent shooting to open the series in Boston.
“You got to make shots, obviously. That helps,” James said. “But I think ball movement, player movement, getting the ball from one side to the other, that stretches out the defense, so that will help.”
James was also asked if there is any mindset he gleaned after coming back from 0-2 deficits against the Detroit Pistons in 2007 and the Golden State Warriors in 2016 that he could apply to this series against the Celtics.
“I mean, just playing the game the right way and see what happens,” he said.