Playoffs 2018 East First Round: Cavaliers (4) vs. Pacers (5)

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James thrives in elimination games, particularly Game 7s

NBA.com Staff

The Cavaliers’ first-round matchup with the Pacers has been much tougher than they were hoping, with the two teams set for a decisive Game 7 on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, ABC).

They can at least take comfort in the fact that perhaps the greatest elimination-game player in NBA history will lead them into battle.

LeBron James enters the contest having played in no fewer than 19 elimination games during his career, boasting a 10-9 record. While that might not sound overly impressive, keep in mind that Michael Jordan, for example, was only 6-7 in such games.

Granted, Jordan’s Bulls rarely had to play elimination games once they reached their championship peak. But the point remains: A winning record in the most pressure-packed, important games of one’s career is impressive.

Even more impressive is James’ performance in those games. His 33-point average in elimination games is the best of any player in history, once again besting even Jordan himself. (Jordan averaged “only” 31.3 points in his 13 elimination games.)

James has competed in six previous Game 7s, averaging 33.2 points with a 4-2 record. Here’s a look at all of them:

Pistons 79, Cavaliers 61

2006 Eastern Conference semifinals

27 points on 11-for-24 shooting with eight rebounds, two assists

Celtics 97, Cavaliers 92

2008 Eastern Conference semifinals

45 points on 14-for-29 shooting with five rebounds, six assists, two steals

Heat 101, Celtics 88

2012 Eastern Conference finals

31 points on 9-for-21 shooting with 12 rebounds, two assists

Heat 99, Pacers 76

2013 Eastern Conference finals

32 points on 8-for-17 shooting with eight rebounds, four assists, two steals

Heat 95, Spurs 88

2013 Finals

37 points on 12-for-23 shooting with 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals

Cavaliers 93, Warriors 89

2016 NBA Finals

27 points on 9-for-24 shooting with 11 rebounds, 11 assists, two steals, three blocks

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