LeBron James is going to have to play in a Game 7, so you're going to have to cover your valuables in a plastic sheet to protect them from the various shards of Skip Bayless' brain that will spew everywhere when his head explodes out of sheer confusion.
We got to wondering: what is the NBA's best player like in Game 7's, the win-or-go-home take-everything defining series matchups? In his 10-year NBA career -- woah, didn't even realize that -- James' squads have ended up in three Games 7, losing twice, but pulling out the win last year against the Boston Celtics. Here's a quick scan:
May 21, 2006: Pistons 79, Cavaliers 61
It's tough to say anything about James' teammates in the Game 7 matchup that ended his third season and first playoff battle with Detroit that isn't offensive. James was fine, registering 27 points -- although it did take a not-so-helpful 24 shots -- but the rest of the Cavs were godawful. LeBron had 11 field goals and the rest of his team shot just 9-for-41 from the floor. (That's bad.) The only other Cav in double digits was Larry Hughes, while the Pistons had every starter besides Ben Wallace over 10 points. Those squads were absolutely lockdown defensively, capable of holding a team that would end up in the Finals the next year to just 61 points, but, man, why did we watch basketball in 2006?
May 18, 2008: Celtics 97, Cavaliers 91
Another Eastern Conference Semis matchup, another strong performance from the guy who used to wear No. 23 and another loss. James had 45 points, but Paul Pierce nearly matched him with a 41-point night, drilling four threes. We had another incident of nobody besides LeBron showing up -- this time, the other Cav in double digits was Delonte West. The Celtics went on to win the NBA Finals.
June 9, 2012: Heat 101, Celtics 88
This one you probably remember. The Celtics went down 0-2 in the series, but old-manned their way back to force a decisive matchup in Miami. Rajon Rondo had a triple-double, but James had 31 points and 12 rebounds, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh played fantastically, combining for 42 points, and the Heat went on to win the NBA Finals somewhat comfortably. Dude, remember when the Miami Heat had Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh? Wait, WHAT?!!?!
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