In the first half of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers, LeBron James was his usual incandescent self. His 26 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists would be an impressive full-game stat line, and yet he managed to put those numbers together after just 24 minutes of work.
LeBron was feeling pretty good about his performance. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, he told his family members mid-game that he wasn’t going to miss a second of the elimination contest.
Here’s video, for all the lip readers out there:
But with a minute left in the third quarter, Jordan Clarkson subbed in for James, who headed to the locker room. According to ESPN’s Doris Burke, James went to get treatment for leg cramps, but he eventually returned to the court with 8:25 left in the game.
Upon his return, LeBron helped the Cavs to a 105-101 win and a trip to the second round of the NBA playoffs. But does any of that matter, now that he has been untruthful with his family? Sure, he’s now 13-0 in the first round in his career, and he added to his legacy with yet another postseason masterpiece. He also played more minutes (283) than any other player in the first round. But on Sunday he played only 43 minutes, not the full 48 he’d promised.
LeBron finished with 45 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 1 fib. It was so close to being a perfect performance.