Cleveland lives to see the second round, behind sensational performances from LeBron James, Tristan Thompson and George Hill. Here are the player grades for Game 7.
LeBron James: A+
I’m running out of adjectives to describe James’ performances. In the first half, he carried the Cavs’ offense with 26 points. The King finished with 45 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the game. He now owns two of the five-highest Game 7 scoring performances in NBA history.
Tristan Thompson: A
For all the criticism Thompson has received during the course of the regular season, when his number was called tonight, the Cavaliers’ big man stepped up. Thompson’s energy and hustle in the first quarter was infectious and set the tone for the rest of the game. Looks like he’s earned Lue’s trust moving forward in these playoffs.
George Hill: A
After missing the last three games due to back spasms, George Hill returned in the second half when Cleveland desperately needed a secondary ball-handler outside of James. Hill created instant offense and consistently earned trips to the free-throw line. Hill helps Cleveland send his former team home in the first round.
Kevin Love: A-
Good things happen when Kevin Love play like his usual self. After a slow start to the game, Love was pivotal in extending the lead at the start of the fourth quarter with LeBron James sitting on the bench with cramps. Love hit two three-pointers and an open baseline jumper. Cleveland will need that Love moving forward in this series.
J.R. Smith: B+
Smith was fantastic today, even though the box score may not show it. Every one of Smith’s three three-pointers were necessary. Smith’s ferocious defense and effort on Oladipo has been applauded all series long and once again he showed up in Game 7.
Kyle Korver: B
Korver has earned himself a B solely because of that give-and-go pass to LeBron James in the fourth quarter that iced the game. Aside from that, he was 1-of-5 from deep and wasn’t as active on the other end of the floor.
Jeff Green: B-
Fear The Sword’s Ryan Mourton should be satisfied with Jeff Green’s performance tonight. Outside of George Hill, Green was the only one that had a positive plus/minus off the bench. While he wasn’t effective offensively, Green spelled J.R. Smith in guarding Oladipo.
Jordan Clarkson: C+
Clarkson seemed to be aggressive, which the other two players below seemed to lack. While he couldn’t find the scoring column on the box score, Clarkson attempted to create offense, which is more than you can say about the other bench players.
Larry Nance Jr.: C
Nance Jr. needs to learn from Thompson’s performance in this one. The Cavaliers’ back up big man just needs to set hard screens, grab rebounds and create havoc on defense. Once again, his minutes weren’t highly effective.
Rodney Hood: C-
Sevn minutes and not a single shot attempt? Un-aggressive Rodney Hood is a bad Rodney Hood.