Playoffs 2018 East First Round: Cavaliers (4) vs. Pacers (5)
Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James thrives in elimination games, particularly Game 7s
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:
2006 Eastern Conference semifinals
27 points on 11-for-24 shooting with eight rebounds, two assists
2008 Eastern Conference semifinals
45 points on 14-for-29 shooting with five rebounds, six assists, two steals
2012 Eastern Conference finals
31 points on 9-for-21 shooting with 12 rebounds, two assists
2013 Eastern Conference finals
32 points on 8-for-17 shooting with eight rebounds, four assists, two steals
37 points on 12-for-23 shooting with 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals
2016 NBA Finals
27 points on 9-for-24 shooting with 11 rebounds, 11 assists, two steals, three blocks