iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — Following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 130-86 drubbing of the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron James learned he was not named a top 3 finalist for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award.
He did not seem to care when speaking to reporters though, saying:
“What are you going to do about it at the end of the day? My only job is to try to be the MVP for this team every night, put my teammates, put our franchise in position to be successful and ultimately compete for a championship.”
However, ESPN reports James expressed some frustration after leaving the arena while he was standing with a group of Cleveland reporters.
According to the report, he questioned why one voter did not put him on their All-NBA first team. The first, second, and third All-NBA teams were announced Thursday. As for finishing fourth in the MVP voting, James wondered, “Fourth? I haven’t been fourth in a long time.”
This year marked the first time since 2008 James did not finish as a top 3 finalist for the MVP award.
Head coach Tyronn Lue was too curious about James’ absence as an MVP candidate, but acknowledged that Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, and James Harden were all deserving finalists.
However, Lue still questioned the decision:
“I look at LeBron like Shaq; I think every year he’s the MVP, and you can give him the award every year if you wanted to. When guys have incredible seasons like James Harden did and Westbrook and Kawhi, then you kind of credit those guys and give those guys the nod. But to me, I mean, LeBron is MVP, just like Shaq, you can give it to him every year if you wanted to.”
Richard Jefferson and J.R. Smith came to James’ defense amongst other teammates, with Smith telling reporters, “He got a vote for [All-NBA] second team. Somebody’s trippin’. … He’s driven by a completely different monster.”
James says his only concern is being the Cavaliers’ MVP each and every night, and he was just that in their Game 2 win over the Boston Celtics. He led the game in scoring with 30 points, and contributed on the defensive end of the floor, notching four steals and three blocks.
As for the Celtics, they suffered a disheartening playoff loss and in the process, lost their top scorer.
All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas aggravated a hip injury in the first half of Friday’s game and sat out the second half. His status for Game 3 is uncertain.
Head coach Brad Stevens said Thomas’ right hip was a nagging injury that he originally re-aggravated in Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals matchup against the Washington Wizards days ago.
The Celtics will have a better idea of Thomas’ status for Game 3 when he undergoes additional tests on Saturday.
Boston trails the Cavaliers 0-2 in the best-of-seven series.
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