PORTER: Spurs end fairy-tale day for James
New life came into LeBron James’ life Thursday morning. It wasn’t on the basketball court.
Now Cleveland’s King has plenty of time to spend with his 8-pound, 21-inch bundle of joy. His season ended abruptly Thursday night when The Chosen One couldn’t carry his team to a win in the NBA Finals.
San Antonio ruined a fairy-tale ending to James’ day. He became a father for the second time in the morning then swept from the NBA Finals at night.
The Spurs seemed to get every loose ball, every friendly bounce in celebrating their fourth NBA Championship in nine years with a 83-82 win.
And that, in the big picture, was OK with James. Despite being on the business end of San Antonio’s four-game sweep, he had perspective.
He had an inspiring day and an awful night. He scored 24 points but shot 30 percent. His 10-of-30 shooting from the field and 2-of-6 free throws haunted Cleveland.
His team needed much, much more.
His teammates, as was the case this entire series, were mere spectators. If the Cavaliers learned anything from this series, they know they need more around James.
He had that when he went home Thursday night.
“I love the way he handles himself,” San Antonio’s star, Tim Duncan, said. “I love the way he handles his teammates. He puts everything on his shoulders and takes full responsibility. That’s big for a young guy.”
Losing will hurt for a while. But James has more off the court to worry about right now with Bryce Maximus James, the second child of the 22-year-old superstar.
Fatigued, perhaps, James had trouble doing most things in a setting where almost everything comes easy — the basketball court.
On the eve of the biggest game of his life, James spent most of it in a hospital. His fiancée, Savannah Brinson, phoned him at about 4 p.m. Wednesday after her doctor’s appointment.
“She said she was on her way to the hospital,” James said. “She was by herself. She didn’t have the baby until 12:51 (in the morning). She went to the doctor and found out she was about to have the baby. ... We were at the hospital all night.”
Unlike Maximus from the movie, the Cavs didn’t play like gladiators on Thursday.
But James grew up during this postseason run. He grew up while most of his teammate him slouched down.
“You put everything in perspective,” James said. “Of course, this is special for me being a part of the NBA Finals and having an exciting time is also great. Win, lose or draw this is special for my family for me being in the Finals and to have another James come into the family. It doesn’t get no better than this.”
LeBron James Jr. now has a one-on-one partner in Bryce.
“They look like to small, small forwards,” dad said. “They’re skinny — like Tayshaun Prince kind of.”
Cleveland had an incredible postseason run. They ran through the Wizards the same way San Antonio ran through Cleveland. They beat a more experience New Jersey team in six games. Then they jumbled the order of the Eastern Conference and knocked out the bully, Detroit, in six.
San Antonio had too much.
Cleveland had James, but Superman played like he had Kryptonite draped around his neck. His shots were short. His acceleration less explosive. He turned the ball over 26 times in four games.
James tasted what it’s like to play in the Finals. It’s a thirst that can’t be quenched by a sweep.
“I don’t want to miss it,” he said. “You don’t want to make the Finals one year and not get the opportunity to play the next year. ... We will give ourselves an opportunity to be a part of this for many years to come.”
Reach Canton Repository sports writer Todd Porter at (330) 580-8340 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org