LeBron James continues to insist that his much talked about elbow isn’t injured, but a flat performance against the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals may suggest otherwise. The Celtics came out firing against James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, winning, 104-86, on May 3 to even the series, 1-1.

James, 24 points and seven rebounds, appeared tentative for much of the night and didn’t morph into his usual aggressive self until the fourth quarter when the game was seemingly decided already. Boston led, 83-60, at the start of the fourth quarter through the combination of offensive balance and solid defense. Six players scored in double-figures for the Celtics, who were led by Rajon Rondo’s 13 points and 19 assists.

Boston also received a boost off the bench from reserve big Rasheed Wallace, who had fallen under scrutiny of head coach Doc Rivers but responded to the criticism with 17 points on 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range.

While the Celtics may have played their best game of the playoffs so far this year, much of the talk will shift to James and his apparent elbow injury. A Twitter page has since been erected in recent weeks titled “Lebron’s Elbow” keeping fans abreast of what has become the most talked about injury of the postseason.

“I’m going to continue to try to be the player I am and not use this elbow as an excuse,” James said in the postgame press conference. “I’d never use an injury as an excuse.

It’s just two games. I understand the burden and the pain Cleveland fans have. I don’t feel pressure at all. I’m looking forward to Game 3.”

Game 3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics series will air Friday night, May 7, on ESPN.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO