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NBA playoffs: J.R. Smith thinks LeBron James lacked confidence in Cavs loss

LeBron James had one of his worst games ever Sunday night when the Cavs lost Game 3 to the Celtics. Speaking Monday after practice, J.R. Smith made some interesting comments regarding his teammate, saying James needs to believe in himself a little more.

He’s close to becoming first in steals and free-throw attempts, and while those records aren’t as sexy as points scored, they too could become unbreakable standards. All that said, what James is doing is unprecedented and may never be repeated.

It’s unlikely Green had thoughts of stealing Durant away from Russell Westbrook and OKC the moment he wrapped his arms around Durant after the Warriors’ narrowly escaped a 3-1 series deficit in last year’s Western Conference finals. But what we do know is by the time they joined forces as teammates on Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, they both shared something in common — they knew what it was like to lose to a fully-staffed, James-led team in the Finals.

In 2012, Durant, then flanked by a young Westbrook and burgeoning James Harden, fell in five games to James as he led Miami to the Larry O’Brien trophy for the second time. Green had been to the mountaintop. He tasted a Finals victory in 2015 when James put up historic numbers (35.8 ppg, 13.3 rpg, 8.8 apg) in a losing effort. Green hurt his team the next year with a suspension as the Cavs mounted a historic comeback behind LeBron’s signature Finals performance.

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