LeBron James has been something of a dour figure over the past few weeks, winning headlines more for cryptic social media posts and the Cleveland Cavaliers' poor performances than his generational talents on the court. The recent kerfuffle inspired by unfollowing the team's official Twitter account as a way of getting serious for the playoffs threatened to make the atmosphere surrounding LeBron even more joyless. Perhaps he would come to games dressed head-to-toe in black and lament that the only thing worse than the pain of a loss is not feeling anything at all.
James and the Cavs thankfully offered nothing of the sort in Wednesday's 113-104 home win over the Milwaukee Bucks. In fact, LeBron had several amazing highlights in a performance that showed why he and the Cavs have carried so many expectations since he rejoined the organization in July 2014.
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It started early as James had a few terrific finishes, a delirious touch pass to Timofey Mozgov, and several other fantastic plays in the first half:
He followed that up with this contest-level double-pump reverse dunk in the third quarter:
It was not LeBron's most efficient scoring night — he finished with 26 points on 9-of-22 shooting — but the style with which he played and his all-around game (eight assists, six rebounds, two steals, and a block) were very good signs for the Cavs. It also helped that five others scored in double figures, including Kevin Love with 24 on 8-of-14 from the field (plus 10 boards).
The win puts the Cavs 2 1/2 games ahead of the idle Toronto Raptors for first place in the East. Whether or not Cleveland ends up with the top seed, LeBron's playoff mode could have the Cavs hitting their stride at just the right time.
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