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The Cavs are relying on LeBron too much, and they know it

INDEPENDENCE, OHIO– In the Cavaliers’ 107-94 loss in Game 2 to the Boston Celtics, there wasn’t much more the team could have asked for from LeBron James.

After a sub-standard 15-point outing in Game 1, James put up a 42-point triple-double in Game 2 (a 42-10-12 statline to be exact), and yet the Cavs still went on to blow a seven-point halftime lead, turning it into an 0-2 series deficit.

As Cleveland tries to even the series back on their home court, the team knows they need to give James more to work with and can’t afford to waste his herculean efforts.

“I’ve never seen a game scored in the 40s unless it’s in the Big Ten with like Penn State, Illinois and Ohio State,” Tristan Thompson said. “So other guys have to contribute and other guys have to step up. We all have to do it collectively. Of course, it’s a huge luxury having LeBron on our team. At the same time, we have to be ready to play and we have to do our job.”

Kevin Love also had a solid Game 2. Together, him and James shot 25-of-47 from the field, while the rest of the Cavs shot 12-of-33. Only James (28.5) and Love (19.5) are averaging double-figures in this series, while the rest of the Cavs’ offense has gone silent for the most part.

“We have to ramp it up. We’re playing too slow,” J.R. Smith said after Thursday’s practice. “We’re making Bron play hero ball, which is tough to do especially in the Eastern Conference Finals. We’ve gotta help him. And with that said, we have to give him an opportunity for us to make him feel confident to give us the ball so we can make the right plays. We gotta help him and he’s gotta help us.”

Smith has been one of the players who have struggled throughout the series. In Game 2, he was 0-of-7 from the field and his most notable contribution was a flagrant foul on Al Horford in the second half.

“He’s not getting a lot of rhythm shots,” head coach Tyronn Lue said of his sharp-shooter. “They’re doing a good job getting into him. I think in transition, they are getting into him. He’s gotta find ways to to keep getting shots and being aggressive.”

The aggressive narrative is something we have heard repeatedly throughout this year, and is certainly one that bears repeating as there has been a definite lack of a sense of urgency throughout this series.

The bottom line for the Cavs remains that they need to give James something to work with. He’s going to be their constant, and as Thompson and Smith said, the rest of the team needs to figure out a way to power through and give him something to work with.

“Make shots, that’s the only thing we can do,” Smith said. “Obviously, we can do more on the defensive side, but our main focus right now is to make shots when we get them. If we don’t have them, try to make the next best play. Right now Bron and Kev are working overly hard trying to carry us, and we just gotta step up and do our job.”

Ashley is a former basketball player who covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indians and high school sports for NEO Sports Insiders. She also covers the Cavs for SB Nation's Fear The Sword. Ashley is a 2015 graduate of John Carroll University and previously worked in political journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @AshleyBastock42

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