Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James feels 'blessed' to be among NBA's all-time greats
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James may not like to talk about his accomplishments on the court, but he is a student of the game, and as such, knows the importance of the history of the game.
James passed former Milwaukee Bucks/Los Angeles Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for second place on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list in Wednesday night’s 125-103 win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena.
“I’m just blessed,” James said following the win. “I’m very blessed, and I’ve taken advantage of the opportunity I’ve been given. It was always my dream as a kid to be a part of this league, and once I saw I had a gift and once I saw I had the people and the mentors around me that were going to allow my gift to flourish, I didn’t take it for granted, and I still don’t.”
James scored a game-high 39 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including a four-for-six effort from three-point range and 15-of-21 showing from the free-throw line. Additionally, James pulled down six rebounds, handed out four assists, stole three passes and blocked two shots in 37 minutes.
Now, James trails only Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan for the most points scored in NBA Playoffs history. Jordan scored 5,987 points in just 179 playoff games with the Bulls.
During the first quarter of Game 2, James was patient on the offensive end, letting his teammates get involved in the act, but after scoring just four points in the opening period, he found his shooting rhythm midway through the second quarter.
Out of a timeout, James hustled toward the hoop and got a layup attempt to fall. Then, after splitting four free throws, James buried a pull-up three-pointer from the right wing. On the next trip down the floor, James took advantage of the space given up by Raptors center Serge Ibaka and knocked down his second straight triple, which put the Cavaliers up by 14, 49-35, with 7:28 to play in the half.
James tied Abdul-Jabbar when he buried a 27-foot three-point shot from the left wing with 8:57 to play in the third quarter. Then, on the Cavaliers’ next trip down the floor, James took sole possession of second place when he stepped behind the three-point line and knocked down his fourth triple of the game.
In addition to James’ scoring prowess in the postseason, he ranks fourth in three-pointers made, seventh in rebounds and third in steals in NBA Playoffs history.
James is the Cavaliers' franchise single-season leader in points scored (2,478 in 2005-2006), minutes played (3,388 in 2004-2005), field goals attempted (1,823) and made (875 in 2005-2006), free throws attempted (814) and made (601 in 2005-2006), and scoring average (31.4 points per game in 2005-2006).
In 767 regular-season games with the Cavaliers, James reset franchise records for the most points scored (20,868), scoring average (27.2 points per game), field goals made (7,512) and attempted (15,442), free throws made (4,742) and attempted (6,467), three-pointers attempted (3,307) and made (1,102), assists (5,481), defensive rebounds (4,545), steals (1,260), minutes played (30,104) and minutes per game (39.2).
In addition to his regular-season statistics, James is the Cavaliers' franchise leader for points scored (3,439), scoring average (29.14 points per game), assists (893), field goals made (1,209) and attempted (2.594), free throws made (842) and attempted (1,158), three-pointers made (179) and attempted (574), defensive rebounds (897), total rebounds (1,079), steals (215) and minutes played (5,010) during the postseason.
“Even at 32, I’ve been in this league for 14 years, and I just don’t take the opportunity for granted,” James said. “I’ve had some great teammates along my 14-year career and have been in the postseason for 12 straight years. Those guys and the coaches that I’ve had have put me in position to try and be successful, and it’s up to me to do it.”