Cavs forward LeBron James (#23) slams one home against the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. (Photo: Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Gavriel M. Wilkins | 04.17.17
June 7th, 2012.
After getting to the NBA Finals a year earlier and falling to the Dallas Mavericks, LeBron James found himself in a place that seemed all but unfamiliar that evening. For two out of the last four years, James sought to lead his team to the promised land and capture his first-ever NBA championship.
However, the Boston Celtics managed to get in the way of those plans, and were present once again.
Now, James was attempting to try and fight off ghosts from postseason’s past. On that night, he finally did. LeBron staved off postseason elimination alongside of any defender who tried to check him, as he scored 45 points with 15 rebounds, and 5 assists to lead the Miami Heat to a 98-79 win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Miami managed to win the series and advance to their second straight NBA Finals in a decisive Game 7.
King James would go on to capture that elusive title he so desperately coveted, and proceed to dominate over the next several postseasons unlike any other player since.
The last time LeBron lost a single game in a first-round series, you would have to go back exactly five years to a month and a day before James put together arguably the most scintillating performance of his career. The 14-year veteran has managed to win 19 consecutive contests in the opening round since 2012, putting him among a select company of Laker greats from the 1980s.
To put this all in perspective, James Harden was still a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder prior to the beginning of this phenomenal streak.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only three other players in league history have more consecutive wins in the first round than LeBron since the current playoff format was implemented in 1984. Should the Cavaliers sweep the Indiana Pacers, James would surpass them all to sit atop of the throne with the most consecutive wins in the opening round.
Kevin Garnett, Tayshaun Prince, and Isiah Thomas, discuss the evolution of LeBron James at Area 21. (Video courtesy of Turner Sports)
Except his reign does not stop there.
James is 11-0 for his career in first-round playoff series. The only other players with more first round series wins without a loss? Robert Horry and Derek Fisher (both 16-0).
LeBron is also a perfect 12-0 for his career in his team’s first game of the postseason. Tied with Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal for the most consecutive wins ever in playoff openers, after leading the Cavs to a 109-108 win in Game 1 of their first-round series with the Pacers on Apr. 15 at the Quicken Loans Arena.
Plus, did I forget to mention the other records in which James could set this postseason?
LeBron entered the playoffs fourth on the all-time postseason scoring list, and only needs 339 points to surpass Michael Jordan for first on the list. James, has scored at least at least that many or more in each of his last six postseason appearances.
The 32-year old has the opportunity to surpass Kobe Bryant for third on the list in Game 3 versus the Pacers, and with James’ place on the NBA’s all-time list for most consecutive games with at least 10-plus points or more, I would find it highly unlikely that anyone would seek to bet against him come Thursday night in Indianapolis.
Yet, there is one thing that stands out above the rest.
James has the chance to become just the seventh player in NBA history to play in seven consecutive NBA Finals. Should he play into another June, he would be the first non-Celtic player ever to pull off the incredible feat. Cavaliers swingman James Jones has been alongside of James as a teammate for all six consecutive finals dating back to Miami, but has only played in five straight.
When you take out the time to think about the fact that James has accomplished this over the last several years with three different head coaches and two different franchises, you can only wonder how anyone could ever seek to argue against him being regarded as the game’s greatest talent?
Because when you come at the king, you best not miss.
For more updates, news, and information surrounding the Cavaliers, follow our official Twitter page @WonForAll