LeBron James Is Still Unstoppable in the First Round of the Playoffs
When you're the King, you're the King.
With all the questions swirling around the Cleveland Cavaliers entering the postseason, some thought the Indiana Pacers would give Cleveland a run for their money in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Yeah, about that.
The last foe to beat a LeBron James team in the first round? The New York Knicks back in 2012. (It's okay to laugh at that. I did, too.)
Just how good was James in the first round?
Man Amongst Boys
Indiana was no match for James, evidenced, partly, by the sweep. All four of the games came down to the last minute, but none of them ever seemed in doubt because of LeBron. Simply put, he was marvelous in every sense of the word.
He shot 54.3% from the field while averaging 32.8 points. The 45% he shot from three would be a career playoff high if it holds up for the entire postseason. For what it's worth, he shot 36.3% from beyond the arc this regular season, the third-best mark of his career.
James' dominance was on full display in the Cavaliers' 26-point deficit comeback win in Game 3 -- 41 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists, and 2 blocks -- for James, who orchestrated the largest comeback in playoff history. (Historic comeback -- sounds familiar, huh?)
Per Basketball-Reference, James joined Charles Barkley as the only players since 1984 to have at least 40 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds in a playoff game while shooting at least 50% from the field. Two players. That's it.
Once again, James did everything for the Cavs. He was and is the engine, tires, car seats, and steering wheel for Cleveland.
Just in case the 32.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game wasn't enough, he threw in 3.0 steals and 2.0 blocks per game for good measure.
King Keeps Rolling
There's just no stopping LeBron James in the first round. Of course, there's no doubt that he'll need a little more help from co-stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love moving forward if he hopes to make the NBA Finals for the seventh consecutive time, but it's been five years since he sniffed defeat in the opening round.
And by the way it's looking, it will be another five years until we witness another.
Our algorithms give the Cavaliers a 9.8% chance to repeat as NBA champions, fourth-highest odds among the remaining teams.