LeBron’s Last Stand: Cleveland Cavaliers Pushed To Historic Game 7

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Oftentimes, it is tough to understand you are witnessing a historic moment as it unfolds in front of you. Especially in the world of sports, where one game- even just one play -can set forth a long series of events that can shape the long-term future of the league. The hot debate among basketball fans worldwide has been whether LeBron James has done- or will ever be able to -enough to surpass Michael Jordan as the (mostly) agreed upon greatest player of all-time.

Debating which sports legends have greater legacies is either the most fun thing ever or a practice in futility depending on who you ask. But the general point I want to highlight is simple. It doesn’t matter where you stand on the James vs Jordan debate. Nor does it matter if James is in your personal top two, or even top five in terms of the NBA’s greatest players of all-time. All basketball fans (even the LeBron detractors such as myself) should appreciate that tomorrow’s Game 7 between the Indiana Pacers and LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers is history in the making.

^ 2017-18 is arguably the worst supporting cast James has had since his earlier days with the Cavs.

LeBron James is 12-0 in his career in NBA first round playoff series. And of course, the much larger narrative is that James has been in seven straight NBA Finals, a truly remarkable feat in the modern NBA. But this feisty Indiana Pacers team, lead by breakout star Victor Oladipo, has been the better team for the entirety of this series. It feels likes a power-shift in the NBA, as James’ upcoming free agency has many thinking this may be the last time we see LeBron James in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform.

^ via MLG Highlights 

The narrative of LeBron James not having enough help is an old and tired one. But this season, more than ever, it was apparent:

By The Numbers: 

  • This was the first time in LeBron James 15-year career that he played all 82 games in the regular season.
  • His team really needed him doing all 82 games, as they finished as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference despite coveting the No. 1 seed in the East.
  • According to ESPN.com “Since playoff seeding began in the 1983-84 season, only the 1995 Houston Rockets, led by Hakeem Olajuwon, have won the NBA Finals as a fourth seed or lower.”
  • Per Basketball-Reference.com, through six playoff games, LeBron James is one of two Cleveland Cavaliers scoring in double figures.
    • James is averaging 32.7 points per game, Kevin Love is averaging 11 points per game. And again, NO other Cavalier is scoring in double figures.
  • The 2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers finished the regular season ranked 29th out of 30 teams in defensive rating, widely accepted as the best measure of defensive efficiency.

All of this is to say, something Ringer staffer Kevin O’Connor says often: don’t take LeBron James for granted.

Thankfully for basketball fans, despite being in year 15, “King James” is only 33 years old. If managed properly, we will see A LOT more LeBron in the future. But I can guarantee that whether or not the Cleveland Cavaliers win Sunday’s Game 7- taking place at 12pm CT on ABC – at the Quicken Loans Arena, we will see highly motivated LeBron James next season. But possibly in a new uniform.

You can follow me on Twitter @ZenMasterMike 

 

 

 

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