There are still games to play. Until I get trampled, my head cut off and buried four meters under the ground, I have a chance .” That’s how clear and explicit LeBron James was when asked if he would end the season after receiving a 15-4 run in the last minutes and ending up losing once again, this time against the Dallas Mavericks. The Los Angeles Lakers ‘ campaign is far from being able to meet the minimum applicable to the entity of the roster, but if there is something that cannot be reproached for James, it is that he has not tried to make the experiment work.
With Anthony Davis practically ruled out for the remainder of the Regular Phase, with Russell Westbrook “disappeared” and with no reason to believe that he will be able to be effective in the short term and the team sunk in the standings, the only hope for the Angelenos is called LeBron James.
Betting against the Akron native is always something that comes with high risk. There have been many occasions throughout his extensive career in which the forward has proven capable of overcoming all kinds of adversity. Throughout his career, his enormous individual impact has surpassed the true level of the team, covering deficiencies, but will the best version of him be enough to save these Lakers?
Right now Frank Vogel’s men are in ninth position in the West, fully immersed in the battle for the Play-In with the pressing danger of the Pelicans, Blazers (two games away) and Spurs (three and a half games away).
“We have to win games and play better. But as long as there are games there will be opportunities, I trust that. I hate to lose, but tomorrow is a new day and we have to be ready to play against the Clippers. That’s my mentality and my way of thinking.” assured the star.
Giving up on the Lakers with LeBron could be a bad deal despite all the odds, so it’s time to look back at other times James exceeded all expectations.
The road to the ring in 2013
With just 28.2 seconds remaining in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals and the San Antonio Spurs leading 94-89, victory for Gregg Popovich ‘s men , and therefore the championship, seemed a matter of course. Many of the AmericanAirlines Arena fans began to vacate the building early to avoid seeing the Texans lift the trophy and celebrate their success.
However, there is a maxim in this sport that says that while there is time, there is hope . And that was exactly what LeBron James and the Miami Heat appealed to in what could be the last minutes of their season. In just 10 seconds the forward reduced the difference to two points with two attempts from the triple almost in a row, scoring only one of them and forcing the Spurs to call timeout and reorganize.
Mike Miller went looking to foul Kawhi Leonard to the free throw line, missing one of his two attempts and giving Miami one last chance. That opportunity would be used by LeBron, who attempted a final triple with 8 seconds left with such good luck that the ball fell into the hands of Chris Bosh on the rebound, connecting with Ray Allen and making history. But the game did not end there. With the result tied, James paired up with Tony Parker and pressed him full court without fouling him and forcing him into a forced shot that missed.
Minutes later Miami would close the victory in overtime by 103-100 and in the final seventh game LeBron would emerge with one of his most outstanding performances: 37 points on 12 of 23 field goals (52.2%), 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and only 2 turnovers. Spoelstra’s men knocked out the Spurs for the first time in a Final and won the title. From the potential 4-2 against to victory in the seventh.
2015 and the challenge of competing “alone”
Indeed, in the 2015 Finals the Cavaliers did not emerge victorious with the championship, but that did not mean that the feat of LeBron James had less validity.
At the beginning of the Playoffs, during the series against the Boston Celtics, Kevin Love was injured in one of his shoulders, leaving him out for the rest of the season. Thus, the Big Three of Cleveland was reduced only to James and Kyrie Irving. The latter would not take long to be ruled out because in the first duel against the Warriors he suffered from one of his knees, also missing the rest of the Finals. Of the aforementioned Big Three, only the name remained, it was LeBron’s time.
After the initial loss in the series, the star responded with two straight wins for the Cavs where he had 39 and 40 points respectively, including a triple-double in the second game. Only brilliant adjustments by the Warriors to isolate LeBron and slow down the rest of the Cavaliers prevented what looked like a ring for the Akron native.
Still, the star finished with an outsized stat line, posting 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists, falling 4-2 in the Finals with no help from Matthew Dellavedova, JR Smith and Tristan Thompson.
The 3-1 against in the Finals
When it comes to epic comebacks in the history of sports in general, the feat performed by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 Finals surely occupies a particularly relevant place. Trailing 3-1 and needing the Golden State Warriors just one more win to clinch their second straight title, LeBron James reshuffled his team and led them to a movie finish.
“We are going to get a victory. We have to take a flight home anyway, so we might as well go home with a victory and play on our court again” , assured the star after losing in the fourth game and being one of elimination.
LeBron James’ next three games would be to frame:
- Game 5 : 41 points (53.3% accuracy), 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks.
- Game 6 : 41 points (59.3% accuracy), 8 rebounds, 1 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks.
- Game 7 : 27 points (37.5% accuracy), 11 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks.
All this leaving, of course, an unforgettable image with one of the most important blocks in the history of the Finals.
The impossible story of the 2018 Playoffs
With Kyrie Irving gone and a bizarre offseason in 2017, the Cavaliers entered January 2018 in an awkward position. Third in the East but too far from the first two and with a 32-22 balance, it was necessary to completely change the image of the team. A multitude of reinforcements arrived, but all of them were far from being a team with the potential to be a champion team. However, LeBron drained the last drops of his career peak and left it all in those Playoffs .
After beating a feisty Indiana Pacers in seven games, including a monstrous seventh by King James , the Raptors wouldn’t be a problem (4-0), quite the opposite of the Boston Celtics. Led by a newcomer Jayson Tatum and featuring an elite defense, the Greens came within a single game of ending LeBron’s eight-straight Finals streak , going 3-2. It was there, once again, that #23 emerged in all his glory, saving the furniture and leading the Cavaliers into contention for the ring.
A team that, under normal conditions, would not have made it past the First Round, stood in the Finals against the Warriors, being one JR Smith concentration error away from taking advantage (1-0, yes). Further proof that the impact of a single individual can change the fate of an entire franchise. Will there be a fifth time LeBron breaks all expectations? The Lakers want to believe that this will be possible.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.
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