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LeBron's 'chill mode' hurting Cavs

LeBron James' production drops off against lesser foes and/or when the Cavs have the lead. Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports

Midway through the third quarter of Friday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris made a big mistake: He got into it with Cavaliers star LeBron James, drawing double technical fouls. James admitted after the game the confrontation changed his approach.

"The words he said got me going," James told reporters. "I was actually in chill mode tonight, but chill mode was deactivated after he said that."

At the time of the double technical, the Magic held a 64-62 lead and James had scored just 11 points in 23 minutes. Over the final 17 and a half minutes, Cleveland outscored Orlando 36-25 behind 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting from James.

There's a lesson here for opponents: Don't poke the bear and get James out of "chill mode." At the same time, it's fair to suggest chill mode is partially responsible for the Cavaliers' up-and-down performance this season.