LeBron meets match in quest to deliver title to Cavaliers

Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:44pm EDT
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By Frank Pingue

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - LeBron James carried his Cleveland Cavaliers on a thrilling playoff run but in the end, the weight of a city and an undermanned team on his shoulders proved too much to handle even for the game's best player.

James delivered an NBA Finals performance for the ages but his hopes of snapping the city of Cleveland's half-century-long championship drought were put on ice for at least another year by the Golden State Warriors.

"When you fall short, it hurts and it eats at you, and it hurts me to know that I wish I could have done better and done more and just put a little bit more effort or whatever the case may be to help us get over the hump," James told reporters. "But it just wasn't our time."

Injuries to Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving during the playoffs and to Anderson Varejao in the regular season left the four-time league Most Valuable Player with nothing more than a cast of role players and aging parts in a quest for a third NBA title.

James, the only remaining boldface name on a Cavaliers roster, did more than anyone could have expected but even his on-court heroics and eye-popping stats were not enough to hide the Cavaliers' shortcomings.

The best player of his generation threw everything he could at Golden State, averaging 35.8 points per game along with 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists in six games, including a pair of triple-doubles.

James also delivered three 40-point games that left him one shy of the record set by Hall of Famers Jerry West (1969) and Michael Jordan (1993).

But the Cavaliers' supporting cast was so depleted that whenever James would seek some rest after getting his team back in a game or building a lead, his teammates were never able to make his hard work stand.   Continued...

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James shakes hands with Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry during the fourth quarter of game six of the NBA Finals in Cleveland, June 16, 2015. David Richard-USA TODAY Sports