LeBron James has been the best player of the 2018 NBA Playoffs. He’s averaging 33 points, 8.8 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game. He’s posted seven 40-point games, hit two buzzer-beating game-winners, swept the No. 1 seed in the East and dragged a Cavaliers roster blown to bits midseason to a Game 7 for a shot at the NBA Finals.
Yeah, the man’s been straight-up disrespectful since mid-April. His last game to keep the Cavaliers alive may have been his best yet. But how does that superhuman performance compare to the rest of his dominant games this postseason?
Let’s rank his top five:
6. Game 2 vs. Indiana: 46 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists
The Pacers had just waltzed into Quicken Loans Arena and swiped Game 1 from underneath the Cavs feet. They proved they weren’t scared of the defending conference champions, that they weren’t going to just lay down and get smoked like another team from up north.
Cleveland needed to respond so James went on his own personal 13-0 run, TO START THE GAME. Bron scored 46 points on 71 percent shooting to pull away with a 100-97 victory and avoid an 0-2 series deficit.
5. Game 4 vs. Boston: 44 points, 17-of-28 shooting
The Cavaliers fell behind, 0-2, to start their Eastern Conference Finals series against Boston, and in Game 3, James got some help from his teammates and needed just 27 points and 12 assists to get the W. But that same help wasn’t available in Game 4, and LeBron wasn’t about to fall into a 3-1 playoff deficit against this young Celtics team, not with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line.
James took out his DIY kit and went off for 46 points on 17-of-28 shooting from the field. He was absolutely unstoppable when the Cavaliers needed him to be.
4. His entire series against the Raptors
Pick your moments.
Maybe it was when LeBron ran the full length of the court, glided off one foot toward the baseline before kissing a one-handed, game-winning, buzzer-beating floater off the glass to down the Raptors in Game 3?
Maybe it was when he went off for 43 in Game 2 on the Raptors’ home court in an 18-point shellacking?
Maybe it was when he was so bored with Toronto, he clipped his fingernails on the bench?
LeBron casually cutting his fingernails in the middle of a playoff game pic.twitter.com/y09Cmrqo68— ESPN (@espn) May 3, 2018
Who knows, man. Do the Raptors even exist anymore?
3. Game 7 vs. Indiana: 45 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists
Yeah, LeBron is damn good in Game 7s. Victor Oladipo and the Pacers learned that the hard way. This would have been a monumental victory for an Indiana franchise that had traded its lone superstar last summer. Instead, they ran into a brick wall. Or maybe that wall was made of lean muscle.
James went bananas for 45 points on 64 percent shooting from the field. It was entire too early into the playoffs for the Cavs to have their backs against the wall. But LeBron never backs down. He was a caged animal that had just been set free.
2. Game 7 vs. Boston: 35 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists
LeBron has put up better statistical performances in these playoffs, but considering the stakes, this Game 7 performance has to shoot right to the top of the list. Putting up these numbers in a game with this little scoring is beyond incredible. Then again, did we expect anything else?
Still, this doesn’t go No. 1. That honor goes to ...
1. Game 6 vs. Boston: 46 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists
... James’s monster performance against the Celtics on Friday. It was an elimination game that could have ended LeBron’s running streak of seven straight NBA Finals appearances. The streak is still alive, at least for another game.
James put up 46 points on 17-of-33 shooting from the field. Throw another 11 rebounds and nine assists in there for good measure. The man was unstoppable, and the Cavs needed him to be to keep their Finals hopes alive.
There was even a sequence in the fourth quarter where Larry Nance Jr. accidentally fell into James’s leg, a scary moment that left The King writhing in pain and The Q at deafening silence. LeBron got up, shook the pain off, and closed the game out with 12 points down the stretch. This is the stuff the greats are made of.
In a playoff run for the ages, Game 6 still takes the cake. We’ll be remembering this 18-game stretch for years and years to come.