I'm trying to process what I just saw from LeBron without slipping into Simmonsonian hyperbole. Certainly one of the greatest individual playoff performances I've ever seen, in any sport. And that's me trying not to slip into hyperbole.
48 points, 54 FG%, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. That's pretty good, but "jordanesque"?
How about, he scored the last 25 points of his team's points in the game - 29 out of the last 30 - to win a double overtime conference final game 5 on the road with the series tied at 2. what?
29 pts, 11 of 14 from the field, from the 4th quarter on. 2 lane driving dunks to end regulation? fall away threes? All that said, he's still able to drive the lane for a game winning layup? huh?
How the hell does something like this happen in a conference finals? He got the ball every single play. There was one stretch of 3 possessions where 2 other lame-o Cavs tried to take shots but no one other than LeBron had taken a shot in so long that they had gone cold so they missed. The Cavs then had the common sense to realize that they had gone too far down the LeBron path to do anything else so they went back to him and he hit like 5 more shots. In double OT. I don't think I've seen anything like it in the NBA since Jordan went for 63 against the Celtics in 86, losing 132 - 131 [a game which I watched in the guest room of my grandparents' house in Detroit during my grandfather's irish wake - how's that for 2 memorable experiences coinciding]. Now, yes Jordan's team lost and LeBron's won, and it was obviously a higher scoring game in those days, but I'd still have to say, in the spirit of non-hyperbole that the Jordan game was the better performance. He did that against one of the 2 or 3 best teams of all time; this Pistons team looked pretty pathetic trying to defend LeBron. Maybe that's to his credit, maybe that's to their (and coach Flip Sauders') discredit. In the post game interviews, they were talking about how they double teamed him, but it didn't really seem that way to me. He seemed to be going one on one against Prince, Billups, or Rip, and then he'd either hit a fall away outside shot, or he'd drive right down the lane and someone would collapse on him totally ineffectively. That's not double teaming. I literally gasped with his second to last dunk in regular time when he was isolated against Maxiell or Maxwell or a 55 year old Cedric Cornbread Maxwell or whatever his name was at the top of the key, crossed him over, blew by him, and dunked to take the lead with a minute left. How the hell does that happen? Then he dunks again, driving past a legit defender in Prince, and could have gotten the and one. The Pistons can say all they want about he was on fire and you can't stop a guy like that, but here's a thought: triple team? No. Wait. How about legitimate double team? It was 1 against 5 out there and 4 of the guys weren't guarding the 1.
So, the Pistons suck, but that shouldn't take anything away from this performance. Best individual playoff clutch performance I've seen since Vince Young took over the Rose Bowl and willed his team to victory. I'm excited to see what happens when LeBron gets a better supporting cast than Eric Snow, Drew Gooden, Pavlovic, and Donyell Marshall. Check out this photo I found on Deadspin which shows the game winning and last of his 25 straight points (see any other Cavs?):