LeBron James, seemingly every game, has a play like this. The opposing team — in this case, it’s the Boston Celtics — have an opposing player break free on the break en route what looks like an easy layup. In this case, that player — Avery Bradley — goes with ease, like he just assumes there’s no one around.
And then here comes LeBron, zooming in to deny Bradley’s layup attempt early in Friday’s Game 2:
At this point in the game, Boston was still in it. A nine-point deficit in the first quarter isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things. And it certainly got worse for Boston in Game 2. In the 15 minutes after this play, Boston went from being down nine to down 41 at the half — the worst halftime deficit in NBA playoff history.
This play sums up Game 2 in this sense: Every time Boston had a positive moment, the Cavs, and specifically LeBron, snuffed out it out emphatically. Here, the Celtics caused a turnover, got past any Cavs defender with a shot at slowing down the break and should have been able to score. Instead, it’s another highlight to add to LeBron’s already extensive reel.
And Boston didn’t even get the ball back after the block. Jaylen Brown caught it before it went out of bounds, but the Celtics committed a foul, giving the ball back to the Cavs.
Sometimes, when one thing goes wrong, everything else does too.
And if you’d like, you can watch LeBron’s block set to DNA by Kendrick Lamar: