Forget the fact that LeBron James logged an inordinate amount of minutes in the regular season, or that he's shouldering as big a playoff load as he's taken on in years. When the game is tight, he's not taking a rest no matter how many minutes he's played.
That much we learned on Sunday after the Cavaliers' Game 4 win in which he refused to take a rest down the stretch of the game that tightened in the fourth quarter.
"A close-out game has always been like that," coach Tyronn Lue told Cleveland.com. "(LeBron) tries to go as far as we need him. I know in that fourth quarter I tried to get him out for a couple of minutes, but he said no, I'm fine. Get me a timeout and I'll be OK."
Coming into Sunday's close-out game, LeBron was averaging 39.6 minutes per game in three consecutive double-digit wins. But the Raptors didn't go quietly in Game 4, closing the lead to two points before the Cavaliers separated themselves down the stretch. It required James, who finished with 35 points on 11-of-22 shooting, to play 46 of the game's 48 minutes, including all 12 minutes of the critical fourth quarter.
The light at the end of the 46-minute tunnel for James is a bright one. With a second consecutive series sweep it gives the team ample time to rest, relax and recover before the Eastern Conference Finals. If the Boston Celtics-Washington Wizards series goes less than seven games, they will play next Monday night; but if the series goes the full seven, the Cavaliers won't play again until next Wednesday.