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Undoubtedly, LeBron James will go down in history as one of the greatest players of all time and what he has achieved with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers is impressive. LeBron James NBA finals record is 3 wins and 6 losses, achieving the ring 3 times and being the MVP finals in the three occasions, two times with the Miami Heat (2012-2013), and one with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2016).
LeBron has played in 9 NBA finals, and as if reaching a final is not an extremely difficult task anymore, the Akron kid has made it with two different teams, and the last 8 finals in a row from the 2011 season to 2018, and is the sixth player in NBA history to play 8 consecutive finals (the five players who previously achieved this feat were part of the Celtics of the 50s and 60s).
James, who has played more NBA Finals games than 25 franchises in its history, has lost six finals out of nine. A clearly negative balance that will be turned against him when he tries to win the race to be considered the best at history.
A final that will serve to feed his critics, who will continue to see in the eaves one of the great losers in the history of the NBA Finals. In fact, the forward has entered the top three of the most lost finals players in NBA history behind Elgin Baylor, who fell seven times, and Jerry West, who accumulated eight losses during his career in the finals.
However, LeBron has made history and achieved something that even Jordan did not. He put the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers on par with the Celtics of the 1960s or 1980s, the Showtime Lakers as the only teams in NBA history with four straight finals.
Other historic players such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal have made it three times in a row, so they’re already behind LeBron, who continues to build on his legacy. Besides, he has become the first player in history to average at least 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in more than one playoff season.
LeBron James Finals
San Antonio Spurs 4, Cleveland Cavaliers: 0
At only 23 years old, James was the star of Cleveland leading the team to the first final of the franchise. In 2007 the San Antonio Spurs were in great shape, with an impressive trident made up of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginóbili, who together averaged 60.6 PPG.
In contrast, Cleveland was a young team with no experience in this type of game, so they were swept aside in a 4-0 series in favor of the Spurs. However, LeBron despite his youth and the great San Antonio defense was able to show his talent by averaging 22 PPG, 7 rebounds, and 6.8 assists.
Dallas Mavericks 4, Miami Heat 2
This series was a major blow to the Miami Heat project. For this season, LeBron James and Chris Bosh had arrived to form an excellent team along with Dwyane Wade, and the goal was the championship.
LeBron didn’t show to be at a superstar level in this series. Many times his decisions showed that he still had a lot to grow in order to win a championship. The Dallas Mavericks led by Nowitzki demonstrated an impressive level of team play throughout the playoffs, eliminating Oklahoma City, the Angeles Lakers who were the reigning champions, and defeating Miami Heat in the final.
Miami Heat 4, Oklahoma City Thunder 1
The first championship for LeBron James. This year LeBron was at a superlative level, being the MVP of the regular season, and leading Miami to win the championship. James led the team in the finals vs OKC averaging 28.6 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 7.4 APG, earning the NBA finals MVP award.
Miami Heat 4, San Antonio Spurs 3
This was LeBron James’ second championship ring. This final is one of the most exciting of all time. Again against the Spurs, James showed great form after being named again MVP of the season.
This series was electrifying, and very intense. Spurs started off by stealing the home court advantage by winning the first game in Miami, but the Heat managed to take the home court advantage and tie the series in game 4 in San Antonio.
The fifth game was won by the Spurs with an overwhelming advantage with a final score of 114-104, so Miami was left against the ropes. The sixth game was undoubtedly the most exciting of the final, where Ray Allen with a triple with only a few seconds left managed to tie the score, and force the over time, where Miami won and ended up winning 103-100. And in game seven we saw one of LeBron’s best performances, with 37 points and 12 rebounds to win his second NBA championship.
San Antonio Spurs 4, Miami Heat 1
James met again against the Spurs and Gregg Popovich in what would be his last season with Miami. This time the Miami Heat team did not have the same energy and power that had led them to two NBA titles. And for San Antonio Kawhi Leonard did an excellent job defending LeBron.
Also, James didn’t have the same support from his team that he had in previous seasons, as Bosh, Wade, Allen were not in optimal physical condition, and this was noticed in the decisive moments of the games. James averaged 28.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 4 APG in this final, but it wasn’t enough to stand up to the Spurs’ big game.
Golden State Warriors 4, Cleveland Cavaliers 2
This series was the beginning of what would be the four consecutive GSW-Cleveland Cavaliers finals. It was the dream story for all Cleveland fans, LeBron returns to the team, and they reach a final again, just to win the championship.
In this final LeBron showed why he is The King, leading Cleveland in all categories, and fighting the Splash Brothers many times on his own. If only Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love had not been injured the Cavaliers would have won this championship for sure.
Andre Iguodala had a great series defending LeBron, which gave him credit for winning the MVP of the final, but despite the great defensive work of GSW James averaged 35.8 PPG, 13.3 RPG, and 8.8 APG, but lacked teammates to help him.
Cleveland Cavaliers 4, Golden State Warriors 3
In this final we saw the best version of LeBron James, and the most incredible comeback. Facing again GSW, who achieved the record of most wins in the regular season with 73 wins, clearly were the favorites.
Golden State Warriors showed why they were the favorites, winning the first two home games by a wide margin, 104-89 and 110-77. However, Cleveland managed to win the next game, but lost game four, making the series 3-1.
Until then, no team in the NBA finals had been able to win the championship after being 3-1 down, and Cleveland led by LeBron and Irving managed to turn the series around, winning the first championship of the franchise and the third for James.
LeBron averaged 41.7 MPG, 29.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 8.9 APG, 2.6 SPG, and 2.3 BPG, and the most iconic play of the final was his block to Andre Iguodala with only seconds remaining on the clock.
Golden State Warriors 4, Cleveland Cavaliers 1
For this third chapter of the GSW-Cleveland Cavaliers rivalry the situation was not at all promising for Cleveland. Golden State Warriors who had already reached two consecutive finals now had Kevin Durant.
In this series Cleveland had no way of stopping the entire offensive arsenal of Golden State. Between Curry, Thompson, and Durant averaged 78.4 PPG. Despite this, LeBron proved to be up to the task in the NBA Finals, averaging a triple double 33.6 PPG, 12 RPG and 10 APG, but GSW was simply superior in all aspects.
Golden State Warriors 4, Cleveland Cavaliers 0
By this season, Kyrie Irving had left to Boston, and Cleveland had weak team. No one expected Cleveland to make it to the finals after seeing how hard it was for them to get to just fourth place in the East. Toronto Raptors had secured first place in the East with 59 wins and were the favorites to contest the final vs.
Cleveland would face Toronto after beating Indiana in an intense 7-game series. In this series vs Toronto Raptors LeBron James showed an impressive game, leading the Cavaliers in the 4-0 sweep with the iconic play to win the third game on the hour with a fade away shot. They would then beat Boston Celtics 4-2 with a spectacular performance by LeBron averaging 34 PPG in this series to reach the final.
In the final we would see James fighting alone against the Golden State Warriors. The first game was exciting and very intense. Unfortunately, Cavaliers was decimated, and without Irving the offense went all the way to LeBron who averaged 44.7 minutes per game.
Despite GSW being far superior to Cleveland, in the first game they managed to come up with opportunities to win the game in the last position, but they went over time, and Golden State had a deeper bench, and in the over time they were better and ended up winning that game by 124-114, which would later end up being a 4-0 sweep.
In that first game James had one of his best games in an NBA final, with 51 points, but it still wasn’t enough to beat Golden State. LeBron’s simple fact of having taken this team to the NBA final is a great feat, as in each of the series they played they faced better teams, but with great performances
they managed to win game after game until reaching the final where they averaged 34 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 10 APG.
LeBron James is definitely one of the best players of all time. Loved by many, and hated by others, his talent and ability to make his teammates play better is indisputable. Maybe some people believe that the fact that LeBron James NBA finals record is 3 wins and 6 losses does not make him worthy of being among the great legendary players of the league, but the reality is that reaching a final is really difficult and LeBron James has reached 9 finals, 8 in a row, and with different teams.