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Thursday, April 20, 2017

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Eyes On NBA: 7 Of The Best LeBron James Playoff Performances

By @TrueGodImmortal 

LeBron James has been to 7 NBA Finals, 6 of which he's been to consecutively. For all the talk (and the accurate talk) of him building up super teams to win championships, there is no doubt about it that his performances in the playoffs have been some of the most amazing things that we've witnessed in NBA history. With his 7 Finals appearances under his belt and over 200 playoff games, we wanted to narrow down his best performances in the playoffs to 7. Let's take a look at what we feel are his 7 best performances in the playoffs.

*Cleveland Cavaliers vs Detroit Pistons 
(2007 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 5)

-In what would end up being one of the all time greatest performances I've ever witnessed in NBA playoff history, Bron showed up and showed out as the true star that he was. At only the age of 22, Bron went out and performed like a much wiser and older player against the juggernaut that was the Pistons team. He put up 48 points, which was a career high in the playoffs at the time, along with 9 rebounds and 7 assists, but what stands out the most, is LeBron scoring the final 25 points of the game for the Cavs and willing them to a big time victory to go up 3-2 in a 109-107 win. This is one of his best easily.

*Cleveland Cavaliers vs Orlando Magic 
(2009 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 2)

-The Cavs went 66-16 in the regular season. LeBron was a leader. He was stepping up big time to push this team to the Finals and he had one more series to go (he wouldn't make it to the Finals this year). However, this was the game that showed me 100% that he was able to truly lead like no other. His game 1 performance is probably slightly better than this one, but what makes this one stand out is how he showed up to win the game when it was needed. 35 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a game winning shot that shouldn't have went in. This was an amazing Bron performance and one of his most clutch shots ever.

*Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers
(2012 NBA Semifinals, Game 4)

-After going down 2-1 in the series to a young and growing Pacers team, the Heat were in need of a boost. Enter LeBron James. Showing why he's the best player in the league, LeBron went as hard as he could at the Pacers team, leading the Heat to a victory and with 40 points, 18 rebounds, and 9 assists. A truly amazing performance.

*Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics
(2012 Conference Finals, Game 6)

-When LeBron wants to step up, he certainly can. He's made a career out of being a big time player and though he won't win every single time, he will win when it counts a majority of the time. With the Heat down 3-2 in the Conference Finals and staring down a possible elimination, LeBron stepped up big time and had his number called when it counted the most, going off in the first half hitting 12 out of 14 shots for 30 points before halftime, dunking at will against the Celtics, and just destroying them at every chance he got. He would finish with 45 points on 19 of 26 shooting, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists to force a game 7. This is one of his most efficient games in his career in the playoffs and it's widely seen as one of his best performances ever.

*Miami Heat vs San Antonio Spurs 
(2013 NBA Finals, Game 7)

-After Ray Allen saved the day in Game 6 (after Bron brought them back in the game), the Heat and LeBron would do what they needed to do to take game 7 against a focused Spurs team. LeBron stepped up in a big way to earn back to back championships, as he finished with 37 points, 5 for 10 from three, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists for a huge victory, including the dagger over Kawhi for the win.

*Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors 
(2016 NBA Finals, Game 5)

-This was the game changer. After Bron ended up down 3-1 in the Finals, he worked his magic to motivate the team to get back in the game. It helped the Cavs that the Warriors were without Draymond Green and lost Andrew Bogut in the 3rd quarter while they were up by a few points to injury, but what really pushed the Cavs to victory was the one-two punch of Bron and Kyrie. Bron would put up 41 points, 16 rebounds, and 7 assists to lead the Cavs to a huge victory over the Warriors 112-97.

*Cleveland Cavaliers vs Indiana Pacers 
(2017 Playoffs, 1st Round, Game 3)

-This performance isn't even 24 hours old, but it's nothing short of magnificent. It might be the greatest first round performance in LeBron's entire career and easily his most impressive. With a 25 point deficit at halftime, the Cavs could have just called it a game and rested LeBron, Kyrie and Love who couldn't seem to get things going in the first half. He was not his most efficient during the first half, but he finished with a solid and efficient shooting performance going 14 for 27 from the field, and he finished with a 40 point triple double during this game, with 41 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists to rally the team back to take a 3-0 series lead and a 119-114 victory. 200 plus playoff games later, this might be the best Bron performance in the playoffs ever.

There are many more performances that could be here, from his series against the Hawks in 2015 to his many games against the Bulls, and his game 6 against the Spurs, or even his game 7 performance against the Warriors, but these are the 7 best IMO. LeBron James is a force to watch and one of the best players I've ever had the pleasure of watching and when it's playoff time, there's really no one better (except the GOAT Jordan, of course). He won't be around forever, so let's continue to marvel at the feats of LeBron while he's still here.



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