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Focused LeBron James mum on Kevin Love's LenDale White comparison

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Posthayleyw on Wed May 18, 2016 11:35 am

CLEVELAND — LeBron James displayed focus at Cleveland’s Tuesday morning shootaround, and that focus continued in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Toronto Raptors.

James made his first nine shots, finished 11-of-13 — every made basket was at the rim — and he finished with 24 points in Cleveland’s 115-84 victory over the Raptors.

He maintained that focus in the postgame news conference until …

Until it was relayed to James that Cavs forward Kevin Love compared James and point guard Kyrie Irving to Southern California’s former backfield of Reggie Bush and LenDale White — with James playing the role of White.

James rolled his eyes, grimaced, shook his head and pursed his lips. It was meant as compliment — White was powerful, Bush was quick — though James didn’t take it that way because White was known as the overweight one.

He didn’t answer the questions, and all Irving said was, “Thanks, Kevin. That's all I've got to say about it. Thanks, Kev. No disrespect to those guys, either. But thanks, Kev.”

That temporarily distracted James from the focus he has displayed in the postseason. The Cavs are 9-0, beating teams by 12.8 points per game, a playoff-best.

James is averaging 23.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists and shooting 52.4% from the field. He has had significant help from Irving, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, Channing Frye, Matthew Dellavedova, Iman Shumpert and Richard Jefferson — a deep and versatile roster that displayed Tuesday it can beat you inside if a team wants to take away the three-point shot.

James has balked at suggestions the Cavs had plenty of rest — eight full days without a game — between Game 4 of the Atlanta Hawks conference semifinals series and Game 1 against Toronto.

“We didn't rest. We just didn't have a game,” James said. “We didn't rest. Coach (Tyronn) Lue gave us one day off. Other than that, we were in the gym working, keeping our rhythm, keeping our legs ready for whenever the game was — whenever we were going to play. So we didn't rest. We just didn't have a game in front of cameras.”

He objected to any notion the Cavs are a three-point shooting team.

“I keep telling you guys every single day, we're not a jump-shooting team,” he said. “You guys kept looking at me crazy about it. We're not a jump-shooting team. We're a balanced team, and whatever the game dictates, we're able to adjust to that.”

The Cavs have made the playoffs look easy, and if they sweep the Raptors, they will join the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers as the only teams to sweep the first through rounds of the postseason.

“I don’t think we have complacency in our minds right now,” James said. “We have a goal, and our goal was not nine wins. It's just not my focus. I've won nine games in the postseason before, won 14 games in the postseason before. It's not my goal, and as the leader of this team, I'm going to continue to make sure that these guys understand what our goal is and they know. They know what our goal is, and (Tuesday) was just another step in the direction that we want to head into.

“And we will face some adversity. We will. And we have to be able to handle that, which I think we'll be ready for.”

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