They had six players scoring in double figures, the Clippers using all of that vitality to push themselves to a 116-102 victory over LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night at Staples Center before 19,130 fans.
CLEVELAND, Ohio — If the NBA Playoffs started today, the Cleveland Cavaliers would be leading the Central Division but would be barely hanging on to the third seed in the Eastern Conference ahead of the Washington Wizards and the Indiana Pacers.
Yes, James makes more in off-court salary than he makes on the court, but as Wertheim points out, “The Cavs and their supporters could highlight the dramatic cost of living difference between living in Cleveland and living in Los Angeles. According to BankRate.com, a person who moves from Cleveland to Los Angeles would require a pay increase of 61% to maintain the same standard of living.”
For most teams, seeding is crucial with home-court advantage in a seven-game series awarded to the better seed.
“Cleveland can offer James more in salary than any other team can. Article VII of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement details the ‘veteran free agent exception,’ more popularly known as the ‘Larry Bird exception.’ The exception permits teams to exceed the salary cap in order to re-sign players who meet certain criteria – James qualifies.”
Jordan leads Clippers past Cavaliers
But when you have LeBron James on your team, a guy who has been to seven straight NBA finals, conventional wisdom goes out the window. Only twice in that run did Jamess team have the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
LeBron James acknowledges DeAndre Jordan addition would have given Cavs a boost
With only 17 games left, it seems unlikely that the Cavs can catch either Toronto or Boston. So, the three seed or worse will have to do. Truthfully, when push comes to shove, what team in the East believes they can beat LeBron in a seven-game series, even with the advantage of home court?
“Moving is his legacy. That’s like asking if fast food is going to hurt Burger King’s legacy,” Cowherd said on FS1 in March. “When I think of LeBron I think of the player empowerment superstar. MJ was the first global icon. Magic and Bird saved the league.”
Crowquill, by Plain Dealer artist Ted Crow, appears three times a week in The Plain Dealer and on cleveland.com.
Video: LeBron James teases what his dunk contest might look like during pregame warmups | ESPN