What else can you say about the performance of LeBron James on Thursday night in the Cavaliers' monumental, come-from-behind win over the Indiana Pacers?
The Cavaliers trailed the Pacers by 25 points at halftime. No team in NBA postseason history had ever come back from such a huge halftime deficit to win a game.
But when you have LeBron James on your side, anything is possible (to borrow a quote from Kevin Garnett). "To win on the road in the postseason is tough enough," he said afterwards. "For us to win in the fashion we did tonight is even tougher. We don't take it for granted."
The King put the Cavs on his back and now the Wine and Gold hold a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 will be on Sunday as the Cavaliers will attempt to sweep the Pacers out of the playoffs.
In the third quarter alone, LeBron scored 13 of the Cavaliers' 35 points, including three 3-pointers. Then for good measure, he closed out with 15 points in the final quarter. James finished the game with 41 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. Along the way, the four time MVP also reached some milestones. Let's review, shall we?
- He passed Kobe Bryant to move into 3rd place on the NBA's all-time playoff scoring list.
- He tallied his 17th career playoff triple-double
- He won his 20th consecutive first-round playoff game, one shy of the NBA's record held by Laker teammates Magic Johnson, Michael Cooper, and James Worthy
- He is now fourth on the NBA's all-time list for most 3-pointers made in the postseason
The aspect of James' Game 3 performance that is most amazing is: He did it with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on the bench for the ENTIRE fourth quarter.
Irving and Love had combined to shoot just 8-for-29 from the field, so Cavs Head Coach Ty Lue went to a lineup that featured James, Deron Williams, Kyle Korver, Iman Shumpert, and Channing Frye (with J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson subbing in).
I swear it felt like 2007 all over again, when LeBron scored 25 consecutive points en route to a career-defining 48 point performance in the Cavs' Game 5 win over the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.
It was that kind of night in Indianapolis.
Afterwards, LeBron was asked if he could put Thursday's performance into perspective as far as how it ranks with his other playoff masterpieces. "I can't even sit up here and say I can," he said. "One thing I do know is that we had a huge halftime deficit and were able to come back and win the game. I didn't know it was the biggest comeback or things of that nature. For myself, I just try to put myself in position to help my teammates win no matter who's on the floor with me."
But my favorite line from LeBron after Game 3 came when he was asked about his success hitting 3-point shots against the Pacers, an aspect of his game that can be inconsistent at times. James' answer was a microcosm for his entire night's work:
"I don't settle."
ANALYSIS: After the Cavaliers' epic comeback, I got some instant analysis from WKYC Channel 3 Sports Director Jim Donovan on Facebook Live. You can watch our recap below:
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