Well, that was fun. The Cavaliers and LeBron James came out fresh and energized in Game 1’s 117-104 destruction of the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. As a Cleveland sports fan, that game was about as much as you could have wanted. There was no concern about too much rest. Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson had career-best playoff performances. LeBron was LeBron. And despite another off shooting night from Kyrie Irving, nothing really was that competitive.
And, just like that, it seems like it’s happening all over again. LeBron Raymone James, born December 30, 1984, is a destroyer of Eastern Conference playoff wills. During this current decade, he’s personally forced franchises to rethink their entire development strategy. Just look at the mid-2010s Indiana Pacers, last year’s Atlanta Hawks or the this year’s Toronto Raptors. The Boston Celtics, despite their youth, just may be the next forced to completely reevaluate.
With last night’s sensational victory, I felt it’d be appropriate to just list out all of the most ridiculous LeBron James playoff statistics. They’re in no particular order, but I’ll give them all different names so it’s easy to pick your favorites in the comments or on Twitter:
Stat A: LeBron James has won a road game in an NBA-record 29 consecutive playoff series (hat tip to Brian Windhorst). The last time he failed to do so was the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals against the Orlando Magic.
Stat B: In a related stat, dating back to the entirety of his career, LeBron James has won a road game in 37 of his now 40 playoff series. The only two other exceptions are the 2007 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs and 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Celtics.
Stat C: Since The Decision in July 2010, LeBron James is 81-20 (.802) in all Eastern Conference playoff games. Prior to The Decision, he was only 42-25 (.627) in his first five trips to the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Stat D: LeBron James is 74-12 (.860) in career Eastern Conference playoff home games. He has never lost more than two Eastern Conference home games in a single playoff stretch. That only occurred in 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2013.
Stat E: Despite advancing to seven career NBA Finals (2007 and 2011-16) in his 11 playoff trips prior to this season, LeBron James’ teams have only captured the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed four times. Those four seasons were 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2016. The Cavs or Heat were the East’s No. 2 seed in LeBron’s other NBA Finals appearances.
Stat G: During his four seasons and 16 playoff series with the Miami Heat, LeBron James won 10 series-clinching games at home. He only won four series-clinching games on the road. In his 24 completed playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers (in eight playoff trips), he only has won three series-clinching games at home. He has won 15 series-clinching games on the road. Those three games were the the 2015 East Finals vs. Atlanta, the 2010 East Quarters vs. Chicago, and the 2007 East Finals vs. Detroit.
Stat H: With last night’s Game 1 victory over the Boston Celtics, LeBron James improved to 2-10 (.167) in career playoff road Game 1s (shoutout Bleacher Report). The only prior victory occurred during the 2015 East Finals vs. Atlanta. Despite the slow start, LeBron’s teams went on to win six of those 11 completed series.
Stat I: LeBron James has never lost a playoff game against any member of the current 2016-17 Boston Celtics roster (when that player played in the game). He’s 12-0 vs. Al Horford (three prior playoff series with Atlanta), 4-0 vs. Amir Johnson (including part of the 2009 East Quarters), and 3-0 vs. Gerald Green (including part of the 2013 East Finals). He’s now 5-0 against all players who have participated in this current series and the 2015 East Quarters: Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller.
Stat J: LeBron James has won 21 consecutive Eastern Conference Quarterfinal games. His last loss took place on Game 4 on May 6, 2012, against the New York Knicks. That Knicks team included J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and a half-dozen players no longer playing in the NBA.
Do you have a favorite LeBron James playoff stat that I may have missed? Share in the comments or on Twitter and let me know.
Here are some sports-related links from around the interwebs that I’ve read recently:
- LeBron James Shows He Does Have Something Left to Prove in NBA Playoffs [Steve McPherson/Rolling Stone]
- The King is crowned: the true and actual arrival of LeBron James [Justin Tinsley/The Undefeated]
- The Puppet Master Behind NBA Playoff T-Shirts [Jake Fischer/Sports Illustrated]
- This is how LeBron James and the Cavs (and Lady Gaga) stay in shape [Dave McMenamin/ESPN]
- It’s time for the Raptors to decide what kind of team they want to be [Zach Lowe/ESPN]
- Finding ‘Moms’: Randy Foye’s Mother’s Day celebration [Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN]
- How the WNBA recovered from its worst ever season [Lamar Johnson & Andi Cwieka/SB Nation]
- Before Baseball-Reference, Statheads Relied On The ‘Big Mac’ [Rob Neyer/FiveThirtyEight]
- Adidas Wants to Copy the Stan Smith Success Story [Richard Weiss/Bloomberg]
- The U.S. Gymnastics System Wanted More Medals, And Created A Culture Of Abuse To Get Them [Dvora Meyers/Deadspin]