The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

LeBron James did some vigorous coaching as his Cavaliers swept the Pistons

Kyrie Irving, left, shares a fourth-quarter moment with LeBron James. (Raj Mehta/USA Today Sports)
Placeholder while article actions load

The Cleveland Cavaliers were locked in a tight game on the road against the Detroit Pistons, with a possible playoff sweep at stake. That could only mean one thing: It was time for Coach James to implement a winning strategy.

That would be LeBron James, who was shown providing quite the animated instructions to his teammates during a timeout. Whatever he said, it certainly didn’t stop the Cavs from beating the Pistons, 100-98, and winning their playoff series, 4-0.

Kyrie Irving was clearly the primary recipient of the tutelage. James may or may not have been telling the guard to lunge forward and stab his defender before taking a shot, but Irving did provide a dagger with a buzzer-beater from half-court as the third quarter ended.

Many also noted the expression on J.R. Smith’s face, or relative lack thereof. Smith may or may not have been daydreaming about cotton candy, but he also responded with a shot from far beyond the three-point line.

James himself, of course, made a major on-court contribution to the winning cause, scoring 22 points on 9-for-19 shooting, with 11 rebounds, six assists and two steals. Sunday’s victory was his 17th straight in first-round playoff games, a remarkable streak and the kind of thing that gives you credibility when you decide to become an occasional player-coach.