– Again, I’m not an Isaiah Thomas guy. I admire him. And I admire what he did. And I know what he went through, the tragedy. I get all that. But as far as how he fits with LeBron James, I’m not a fan.
SHANNON SHARPE: No.
– And I wasn’t from the start. So I’m not doing 20/20 hypocritical, hindsight here. So now, Isaiah Thomas and LeBron James have shared the floor in Cleveland 110 minutes. And in that time, Isaiah has taken 66 shots and LeBron has taken 42 shots. It’s like bad old days, Durant and Westbrook.
– Because Westbrook was taking way more shots than what I thought was, at least, the best player on that team, if not an emerging, obviously, MVP.
– But if they’re good shots, I don’t believe you would have a problem with him shooting that many.
SKIP BAYLESS: No, no.
– But there– like Russell, they are horrible shots, a lot of them.
– Some of them are horrible. So, to your point, I’ve watched three straight Cavs games. And I have seen flashes of the team that won 18 of 19 games–
SHANNON SHARPE: Correct.
– –all in the first half. So at Indiana, they lead by 22 in the first half. That will work because Indiana had beaten them twice, already. Indiana is not bad. It’s kind of hard to go to Indiana and get up by 22.
SHANNON SHARPE: Yep.
– And they lost the second half 53 to 37. Golden State’s really good. And at Cleveland last Monday night, the Cavs lead by 7 at halftime. That’ll work. You know, that’ll– I’ve sat back and said, wow. And LeBron didn’t play well in the first half. He played great in the first half.
– And they lost the second half 61 to 44. And then last night, they’re up by 23 on what’s left of the Magic. And the ball movement wasn’t just good, it was sensational. LeBron is whipping it through his legs, behind his back to Dwyane.
SHANNON SHARPE: Behind his back, between his legs!
– Ah, ah! It was spectacular.
– D Wade had to smile. D Wade like–
– He did.
– Did you see what he just– let me go and lay this thing. I can’t mess this up. Did you see what he just did?
– Hey, they had a couple of hot potato possessions where it when, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, around the circle a couple of times. And then somebody got a what? JR got a wide-open three and just ripped it, you know, like he knew it was in when it left his hand. And I’m saying, OK, here they come. Again, it’s almost like you’re playing some scrimmage opponent. You know, like it was a joke game in the first half.
And to your point, all of a sudden, I look up and Orlando is ahead by one point down the stretch? OK, so I got to give a quick nod to Isaiah because, to his credit, he did make the two free throws that did end up winning the game. Although, I thought there used to be this rule, I don’t know what happened to it, where you can’t step across the free throw line before the ball hits the rim.
– And he does it every time. He just steps up, he shoots it and, steps across the line, almost like he’s got to put a little more oomph into it to get it there. I don’t know. But he did make them. Although, that play, you want to talk about a break. It’s a jump ball. It’s just here we go. Here we go. And Sheldon Mac reaches in and just ties him up. Well, what, that’s not a foul.
He is all ball. It’s all ball. Sheldon Mac’s looking around like, I– I–
SHANNON SHARPE: And that’s what’s so amazing, Skip, is that we’ve seen LeBron James do that very thing. And they called jump ball. They give–
– That’s true. I will give you that. So here’s what’s happened to LeBron in the second halves of these 11 games, in which they did win the one last night, though it felt like a loss. So they’ve won three out of the last 11 games.
In those games, in the second halves, LeBron James is now minus-81 in plus/minus. That is the worst in the whole National Basketball Association out of 416 players. That’s shocking to me.
SHANNON SHARPE: Yes.
– And it has something to do with the presence of Isaiah Thomas.
– I totally agree.
– It just does. Now, LeBron lost it in the second half. And he ended up–
SHANNON SHARPE: What you mean the second half? He didn’t have it in the first half. He missed his first five free throws. He was 0 for 4 from three.
– And in these last three games, he’s 1 for 9 from three, and 6 for 12 from the free throw line. And by the way, he was 2 for 8 from the free throw– so the demons got back in his head last night.
SHANNON SHARPE: That’s what you– I could tell early on. And I’ve watched just about every game he’s played in his 15-year career. When he missed those first couple of free throws–
– He starts overthinking it. And then, it’s–
SHANNON SHARPE: It effects his outside shot.
– It did. So he’s obviously not without blame. But I’m just saying, the chemistry is so wrong here, that Isaiah is so ball dominant that– and now, it looks back on Kyrie. And we’re going to, as you said, we’re going to talk about in a little bit, but I don’t know what it was about Kyrie and LeBron, but they had enough respect for each other that they could do your turn, mine turn. And there was a blend and a flow to it–
SHANNON SHARPE: Right.
– –where Kyrie would sacrifice, and then, LeBron would sacrifice. Isaiah, you saw the clip that we aired live?
SHANNON SHARPE: Yeah.
– I was watching live with Allie Clifton last night on Fox Ohio. And I just fell back in my chair like, the audacity of that little man to put it– he just put himself in LeBron’s conversation. We’re two great players. No, you’re not. You’re one great player.
– Oh, he’s closer to greatness than I am. What do you mean, closer? He’s there!
– He’s there.
– He’s already home.
JOY TAYLOR: [INAUDIBLE] isn’t LeBron always doing the hashtag, #striveforgreatness? You know what I mean? Maybe he just– He’s just repeating the mantra.
– But Isaiah, the audacity.
He was just putting himself in the same conversation like we’re two great players.
SHANNON SHARPE: Oh, yeah, yeah, we–
– We going to work this out, you know.
– So help me out here. LeBron has made 14 straight All-Star teams, and Isaiah has made two. I’ll give him that. But 14 to 2? And LeBron has played in 217 playoff games, and Isaiah has played in 25. So they’re on mutual footing here, like they’re– what? That’s what he’s made up. He came in. He was so idolized in Boston, because they were so desperate for a new star that he– it’s such a great basketball hotbed town.
SHANNON SHARPE: Yes.
– And he got so caught up into it, that he thought he was some combination of Bill Russell and Larry Bird. And he came to Cleveland with that mentality. I’m joining another great player. It’s the two of us. What?
-Because think about it–
Source: Fox Sports