James often at his best when his team’s facing elimination
LeBron James has delivered some of the best performances of his career when his team needed it most.
James has played 21 playoff games in which his team has faced elimination. He has averaged 33.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists in those games. His scoring average in those situations is the highest in NBA history for anyone who has appeared in at least five elimination games.
James will try to deliver with his back against the wall once again Friday night when the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. Here’s a breakdown of how James has fared each time he’s taken the floor with his team facing elimination.
2006 EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
GAME 7: DETROIT PISTONS 79, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 61
James scored 27 points, but nobody else on the Cavs had more than 10. He shot 11 of 24 but missed all four of his 3-point attempts. He also had eight rebounds and two assists.
2007 NBA FINALS
GAME 4: SAN ANTONIO SPURS 83, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 82
James scored 24 points but shot just 10 of 30. He also had 10 assistss and six rebounds plus six turnovers.
2008 EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
GAME 6: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 74, BOSTON CELTICS 69
James had 32 points, 12 rebounds and six assists to help the Cavaliers force a Game 7. He also had eight turnovers and shot 9 of 23.
GAME 7: BOSTON CELTICS 97, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 92
James scored 45 points to go along with six assists and five rebounds. But he didn’t get much help. The only other Cavalier to score in double figures was Delonte West with 15 points.
2009 EAST FINALS
GAME 5: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 112, ORLANDO MAGIC 102
James posted a triple-double with 37 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists to help the Cavaliers send this series back to Orlando.
GAME 6: ORLANDO MAGIC 103, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 90
James had 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to cap a brilliant series in which he averaged 38.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 8 assists. It just wasn’t quite enough to get Cleveland a conference title.
2010 EAST SEMIFINALS
GAME 5: BOSTON CELTICS 94, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 85
James had 27 points and 19 rebounds but also committed nine turnovers in the final game of his first stint with the Cavaliers.
2011 NBA FINALS
GAME 6: DALLAS MAVERICKS 105, MIAMI HEAT 95
James had a team-high 21 points and shot 9 of 15, but he also committed six turnovers. James averaged 17.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists in the five-game series loss.
2012 EAST FINALS
GAME 6: MIAMI HEAT 98, BOSTON CELTICS 79
In one of the signature performances of his career, James shot 19 of 26 to score 45 points in a road victory. He also had 15 rebounds and five assists.
GAME 7: MIAMI HEAT 101, BOSTON CELTICS 88
James had 31 points and 12 rebounds as the Heat won Game 7 to reach the NBA Finals. James would go on to win his first career NBA title as Miami beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games.
2013 EAST FINALS
GAME 7: MIAMI HEAT 99, INDIANA PACERS 76
James scored 32 points and went 15 of 16 from the free-throw line. He also had eight rebounds and four assists. James averaged 29 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in the series.
2013 NBA FINALS
GAME 6: MIAMI HEAT 103, SAN ANTONIO SPURS 100 (OT)
James posted a triple-double with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists as the Heat rallied late in the fourth quarter and won in overtime.
GAME 7: MIAMI HEAT 95, SAN ANTONIO SPURS 88
James scored 37 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. He shot 12 of 23 overall and 5 of 10 from 3-point range. He averaged 25.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 7 assists and 2.3 steals over the course of the series.
2014 NBA FINALS
GAME 5: SAN ANTONIO SPURS 104, MIAMI HEAT 87
James had 31 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a losing cause. He averaged 28.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in the five-game series loss.
2015 NBA FINALS
GAME 6: GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 105, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 97
James scored 32 points to go along with 18 rebounds and nine assists. He shot just 13 of 33, including 2 of 10 from 3-point range. James averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the series to carry a Cleveland team that was playing without the injured Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
2016 NBA FINALS
GAME 5: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 112, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 97
James had 41 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists with just two turnovers in this road victory. He also had three steals and three blocks.
GAME 6: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 115, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 101
James had 41 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds with only one turnover.
GAME 7: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 93, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 89
James posted a triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists as the Cavaliers completed their comeback from a 3-1 deficit by winning Game 7 on the road. James averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocks for the series.
2017 NBA FINALS
GAME 4: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 137, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 116
James had a triple-double with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to assure that the Cavaliers would avoid a sweep.
GAME 5: GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 129, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 120
James had 41 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in a losing cause. He averaged a triple-double in the Finals with 33.6 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists per game.
2018 EAST QUARTERFINALS
GAME 7: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 105, INDIANA PACERS 101
James collected 45 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals. He shot 16 of 25.