Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James has hit back at a suggestion from Harrison Barnes that the Golden State Warriors ‘let him’ score heavily.
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James scored 44 points in Game 1 of the NBA Finals at the Oracle Arena on Thursday night, while the Warriors were able to keep others around him relatively quiet.
Kyrie Irving had a solid contribution but will now miss the rest of the series after sustaining a fractured knee cap, and so the onus will be on LeBron to continue to lead his team.
However, Barnes suggested that Golden State were content with letting James score heavily and nullifying the threat of those around him, with the likes of JR Smith and Iman Shumpert not as effective as they have been in the post-season thus far.
The two-time NBA champion hit back at the suggestion that the Warriors are ‘letting him’ score, and insists that putting up big individual numbers in a loss still didn’t allow him to sleep properly after the game.
“First of all, you don’t let me have 40,” he told the media, as reported by Pro Basketball Talk.
“I go get 40. It’s not like they’re just getting out of the way. So those guys aren’t saying we’re okay with letting him have 40. You don’t let me have 40; I’m making those shots.”
Essentially, the Warriors plan is one that will take them to a championship. While they aren’t ‘letting’ LeBron score, they are making life extremely difficult for him to find his teammates for better shots.
In addition, with the likes of Barnes and Andre Iguodala hounding him, the shots that he does take are tough to say the least and so ultimately they are daring him to show why he is considered the best player in the league.
It just about worked last time out, and now with Irving out the picture, the job just became even more difficult for the four-time MVP as he looks to overturn a 1-0 deficit.