Michael Conroy/Associated PressINDIANAPOLIS — It was after midnight when Lebron James strolled down a darkened hallway beneath Bankers Life Fieldhouse, on his way to the Cleveland Cavaliers team bus.
"You never want to go down 3-1 to anyone, whether it's the first round or you're fortunate enough to get to the Finals," James said after the Cavaliers beat the Indiana Pacers 104-100 Sunday night to even their first-round series at 2-2.
And it just makes you wonder, with better teams than the Pacers looming ahead, what will be required of James to carry this group of role players and non-stars up the mountain to his eighth consecutive Finals?
With the Cavs trailing 93-91 with just under four minutes left, James spotted Kevin Love and Kyle Korver on the back side of the defense by the Pacers bench with a two–on-one advantage.
It felt like the interview room at the Fieldhouse was filled with an enormous sigh of relief from James, who had grown testy in recent days with repeated questions about whether he had enough help from his teammates to win this series.
Now, the latest fascination in a tumultuous season for the Cavs—with James approaching another date with free agency—is what their identity will be in the fourth quarter of playoff games when every possession matters.
If Lue lacks confidence in the players Altman acquired at the deadline, what does that say about coaching staff and front office being on the same page?
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