Following a 113-105 loss to the Trail Blazers on Thursday in which his 35 points, 14 rebounds and six assists weren’t enough to avoid the Cleveland Cavaliers’ third defeat in their last four games, LeBron James admitted how much the absence of Kevin Love is affecting the Cavs. “It’s been a long time since I haven’t played with another All-Star on my team,” James said.
Technically, James didn’t play with an All-Star in Cleveland’s 2015-16 championship season – but that was because Kyrie Irving missed the first several months of the season as he recovered from knee surgery and Love was overlooked because his role was being compared to the monster numbers he put up as a solo act with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Really, one has to go back all the way to the 2009-10 Cavs to find a team that James played on that didn’t have an active All-Star alongside him.
Following the 2009-10 season, James left Cleveland to go play with the Miami Heat w he, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all made the All-Star Game together for four straight years.
Portland’s All-Star guard Damian Lillard did his part in Thursday’s win with 24 points and nine assists, but Lillard had more help than James did, seeing 29 points from CJ McCollum and 17 points and two steals from Maurice Harkless.
James, perhaps showing just how much he was missing playing alongside an All-Star-caliber player, praised Lillard at a shootaround Thursday morning.
“I think we all know how Damian Lillard is playing as of late,” James said.
Lillard and James patched up their relationship, sources told ESPN, after tweets that Lillard made in college that were critical of James and used derogatory language surfaced in 2014.
James and Lillard had a “Man-to-man talk” years ago, sources told ESPN, and James accepted Lillard’s apology.