For a guy whose team has been in first place all year LeBron James has been a vocal discontent most of the season. James complains the Cavs are “top-heavy,” that they “aren’t better than last year” and that they lack toughness. Lesson 1: Never doubt LeBron James’ assessment of his basketball team. The NBA hasn’t had a Finals without James in seven years — he knows what he’s talking about. On Saturday John Wall and the Washington Wizards showed the world that LeBron James is right. Leveling his lack of toughness charge, James was talking about how individuals — his teammates — had to take personal responsibility, especially on defense.
The Wizards heard James. The Cavaliers apparently didn’t — or maybe, as James has said, they’re just not as good as they were. The Cavs let — there’s hardly another word — the Wizards come into Cleveland and blow them out 127-115. Wall, tough and strong as any guard in the NBA, scored 27 points against the Cavs while his backcourt partner Bradley Beal added 27. The Wizards dominated from the get-go, with Wall notching 18 in the first quarter. As James said earlier in the week, “You can’t preach toughness. You’ve got to have it.” The Wizards do. They’re 2.5 games back.