IN LeBron James’ storied career to date he has featured in 45 different playoff series, winning 36 of them all while establishing himself as one of the best postseason performers in the history of the league. On more than one occasion ‘The King’ has been forced to drag his team out of a tough spot in the playoffs, overcoming adversity and defying the odds to win a best-of-seven series when they were stacked against him. Some of those series’ stand out above the rest, thanks in large part to LeBron’s god-given talents and his burning desire to go down as an all-time great.
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7. East Finals 2007 vs Pistons
Series Stats: 46.0 MPG, 25.7 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 8.5 APG, 0.5 BPG, 2.7 SPG, 44.9 FG%
TRAILING 0-2, things were looking tough for Cleveland heading into Game 3 of the 2007 East Finals. LBJ responded by posting a 32/9/9 line in a Cavs win, but that game isn’t why he features here. In one of the most dominant postseason performances we have ever seen, James owned Game 5 a few days later, dropping 48 points (including the teams final 25 points) in a double-overtime win against the Pistons. They would then go on to win Game 6 and earn a maiden trip to the NBA Finals. At just 22 years old, playoff LeBron was born.
6. East First Round 2006 vs Wizards
Series Stats: 47.2 MPG, 35.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 5.7 APG, 0.7 BPG, 1.3 SPG, 51.0 FG%
EVEN in his first-ever playoff series, with all eyes watching him, LeBron James did not disappoint. In Game 1 he played every second of the 48 minutes available and notched up a triple-double, becoming just the third player to have one in his playoff debut. James wasn’t finished there, connecting on the first game-winner of his career in Game 3, before netting another one in Game 5 while the series was locked at 2-2 in an OT epic. With the writing on the wall, LeBron once again played every second of 6 which turned into a Cavs’ 114-113 overtime win. Not a bad way to start your postseason career.
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5. East Finals 2012 vs Celtics
Series Stats: 45.9 MPG, 33.6 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.1 SPG, 52.7 FG%
THE reason this series ranks so high on LeBron’s list of accomplishments is largely thanks to his performance in Game 6. To set the scene, Miami fell to Dallas the previous year in the NBA Finals and they found themselves in perilous territory down 3-2 to the Celtics – facing the daunting scenario of playing a must-win game in Boston. Once again his team required LeBron to go above and beyond to get a win, so he stepped up with 45 points and 15 rebounds, missing just seven shots and avoiding elimination. Of course, he followed that up with 31 points in Game 7, en route to his first NBA championship ever.
4. East First Round 2018 vs Pacers
Series Stats: 41.1 MPG, 34.4 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 7.7 APG, 1.0 BPG, 1.4 SPG, 55.3 FG%
AT the age of 33 and with so many miles on his body, people shouldn’t be able to do what James did against Indiana over the last fortnight. He averaged over 34 points and came up time and time again, scoring 40+ three times and hitting a buzzer-beater to claim Game 5. Cleveland shouldn’t have been in this position, but they found themselves in a hole after the rest of James’ teammates failed to fire with no one other than LeBron averaging north of 11.5 PPG in the seven-game series! Once again though we were reminded, if you have LeBron James in uniform, all is well.
3. NBA Finals 2015 vs Warriors
Series Stats: 45.8 MPG, 35.8 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 8.8 APG, 0.5 BPG, 1.3 SPG, 39.8 FG%
WITH Keven Love injuring himself in the first series of the ’15 playoffs and Kyrie Irving going down in Game 1 of the Finals, everyone expected the Warriors to cruise to the title. LeBron wasn’t about to roll over and let them have it though, single-handedly trying to keep the Cavs afloat with multiple 40-point games and triple-doubles while managing an insane workload. It wasn’t enough to get them over the line, but he was unlucky to not become the second player to win the Finals MVP from a losing squad.
2. East Finals 2009 vs Magic
Series Stats: 44.3 MPG, 38.5 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 8.0 APG, 1.2 BPG, 1.2 SPG 44.9, FG%
PERSONALLY, I remember this series like it was yesterday. Around this time was when I was starting to gain access to a lot more NBA action thanks to the ever-expanding Internet and James picked the perfect time to go off. He hit 20 shots in the first game of the series, finishing with 49 points, nailed a game-winning buzzer-beating shot to claim Game 2 and nearly did the same thing again in Game 4. Even though they went on to lose to Orlando in six games, it’s hard to exclude the series where LeBron was at the peak of his powers scoring the rock.
1. NBA Finals 2016 vs Warriors
Series Stats: 42.0 MPG, 29.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 8.9 APG, 2.3 BPG, 2.6 SPG, 49.4 FG%
Statistically, LeBron has had better playoff series, but this is the finest moment of his career. Down 3-1 the Cavaliers never say die attitude saw them claw their way back to force a deciding Game 7. He didn’t get there by accident, scoring 41 points in both Game 5 and 6 to hold off Dub Nation from winning back-to-back titles. We all know how that now-infamous Game 7 unfolded and LeBron James lived up to his promise of delivering Cleveland a championship.
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