2007 and 2018: LeBron's two miracles to reach the Finals

In 2007 he scored 48 points for the Pistons and in 2018 he had a historic playoffs. Two very different years with a common denominator: LeBron's miracles.


Between 2007 and 2018 a lot happened in the NBA. Good, better, bad and different, but always with a certain dose of glamor and a lot of history within a competition that has always known how to sell it and that creates appropriate narratives and speeches for each specific moment. In those 11 years, the Spurs won their fourth and fifth rings, the Celtics reigned for the first time in 22 years, Kobe Bryant added two more championships in his obsessive pursuit of Michael Jordan, Nowitzki achieved redemption, the Warriors emerged as a dynasty In the middle of the triple era and LeBron made a trip home and back that culminated in that 2018, when he said goodbye to the Cavaliers after returning in 2014 to reconcile with a city that has given everything and that hated him in a way. almost irrational after the controversial The Decision and all that it entailed. Among many other things, the first two rings of the King, of course, that he won again in 2016, fulfilling the promises made long ago and crowning himself as one of the best players ever, a position that he occupies objectively and in which he continues to try ascend, seeking his definitive place in Olympus and in history, now in full Finals and with the Lakers jersey.

More than a decade it took LeBron to achieve a redemption eternally delayed and not fully assimilated by all sectors of basketball. It is the time that passed between the first Finals of his career and the last that he had played until this year. Also the first and the last with the Cavs, from whom he left in 2018 as a hero and not as a villain, leaving an endless legacy in a franchise that disappears completely and completely from the map every time he stops having LeBron in his ranks. . Today, the Ohio team is a shadow of what it was with its last (and only) great hero, who in 11 seasons in the franchise, divided into two stages, has played the playoffs nine times, and has played five Finals, winning a ring. Almost nothing in a fireproof string of exhibitions that ended with one of the two greatest miracles that he starred in in his career, in 2018. Precisely, 11 years after performing the first, with just 22 years of age. Two performances that have only increased an already giant legend and are part of an unblemished reputation.

The Palace succumbs to LeBron

In 2007, the Cavs were a small team on the rise with a potential star in their ranks already practically in their third year as a consolidated professional. In 2005-06 they made the playoffs with Mike Brown as coach. A good guy, with extensive defensive knowledge and raised in the Popovich school, the one that has given a horde of technicians to the NBA benches without any resembling his mentor, beyond a Steve Kerr who drank from the source of wisdom when I was still a player. Of course, reaching Pop is an almost impossible mission, and Brown was a good coach who forged a good reputation in a few years in which he dropped out of the playoffs, reached the Finals, got four seasons over 50 victories and two exceeding 60. His abrupt departure from the Lakers at the beginning of 2012-13 damaged his image, and after a second and short-lived stint with the Cavs he returned to his assistant position, this time in Steve Kerr's Warriors.

In his first year, 2005-06, he slipped the Cavs into the playoffs for the first time since 1998, and qualified them for the second round, something the franchise had not achieved since 1993, with Lenny Wilkens on the benches and that squad that year earlier he played in the Eastern finals against the Jordan Bulls. In that season, LeBron averaged 31.4 points, 7 rebounds and 6.6 assists. The Cavs lost in the semifinals to the Pistons in seven tough games, and that would be the rival they would face in 2006-07, a year later, but in the Eastern finals. With the same record as the previous year (50-32) and a team made up of promises that didn't catch on and some luxury veteran (Varejao, Donney Marshall, Erik Snow, Larry Hughes, Pavlovic, Drew Gooden, Iglauskas ...) They were behind the Pistons in betting. The last competitive version of the Bad Boys came from playing the Finals of 2004 (with ring) and 2005 and reaching the last round of the East in 2006. Larry Brown's exit from the bench two years earlier was joined by the arrival of a Flip Saunders, famous for coaching Garnett's Wolves, who achieved 64, 53 and 59 victories in three seasons, all of them settled with those Eastern finals that they would never beat again.Nor that year, despite leading 2-0 in the tie with two games that won by three points at the Palace, in which they left LeBron at just 14.5 points and 35% in shots from the field. Things changed in Ohio: 32 + 9 + 9 and 25 + 7 + 11 for James, who that year had averaged 27.3 + 6.7 + 6 in the regular season, although being relegated to the second Best Quintet after reaching the previous year first. The Cavs tied the tie and went back to the Palace, where the magic of the King appeared: 48 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals with 18 of 33 in field goals. But the thing does not end there, since LeBron converted the last 25 points of his team, and 27 of the last 28. In the last quarter he scored 11 with 5 of 6 in shots from the field; in the first overtime, the 9 of his team, with 2 of 4 in shots. And in the second, another 9 without failure (4 of 4), including the layup that decided the match, silencing the Palace and taking the lead in the tie.

The Cavs won the sixth game with 20 + 14 + 8 from a LeBron who played 46 minutes and 19 points in the fourth quarter of Daniel Gibson, with 4 of 4 in triples. They set course for the first Finals in their history, being taught by the Spurs (4-0), who dried LeBron. It was Tim Duncan, another dimensionless being, who went to look for a King still without a crown in his dressing room to tell him that this League will one day be yours. Of course, LeBron fully complied with what the power forward told him, but that year, against Detroit, he made his first great exhibition, one that allowed him to begin to be seen as one of the best players in the competition and with the one that left behind that farce that underestimated him, with nomenclatures as a robot and a man who only knew how to penetrate. It was the beginning of his reign. One that can continue to be valid if they win victory this year.

2018: El Rey against all

LeBron averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists in 2017-18. At 33, he led the League in minutes per game (36.9), playing 82 in the regular season for the first and last time in his career. The Cavs reached 50 victories with a lot of effort, constant game crises and a loose group after Kyrie's departure for the Celtics and that had settled for the 2016 ring. LeBron pulled the car, played until exhaustion and signed 52 double-doubles and 18 triple-doubles. There are those 57 points scored against the Wizarfds, the 44 + 11 + 11 from the loss to the Sixers or the 35 points and 17 assists he signed against Toronto. Nobody gave a penny for a group in which Kevin Love showed his most ghostly version, JR Smith seemed consumed by life and Korver and George Hill were trying, with their 36 and 31 years, to pull the car as best they could next to a Calderón that He was also 36. And Tristan Thompson, Jeff Green ... It was the year of Isiah Thomas, Dwayne Wade and Derrick Rose, who left in the middle of the season, and in which at no time was there any direction or direction in a team totally adrift.

LeBron was the only one not in the mood for jokes. In the first round, he had to score 46 points for the Cavs to win the second game, 44 in the fifth and 45 in the seventh, with a monumental block on Oladipo that gave his team a pass to the semifinals and continued their unbeaten record. in a first round he has never lost. He averaged 34.4 points, 10 rebounds and 7.7 assists with 55% shooting, something amazing and absolutely impressive that would only improve. Famous is his image bandaged as his teammates celebrated the first victory in the second round, against the Raptors, after playing 41 grueling minutes in the previous round and arriving almost without rest to the new series. Well, 26 + 11 + 13, 43 + 8 + 14, 38 + 6 + 7 and 29 + 8 + 11. 4-0, goodbye to Dwayne Casey, his Best Coach award and his 59 victories and go to the Eastern finals with favor included the Canadians, who ended DeRozan's stage in the franchise and with his departure they got Kawhi and, a year later, the ring.

In the Eastern finals, the umpteenth miracle took place against some already miraculous Celtics, who reached that round without Kyrie or Hayward but unbeaten at home and with an absolutely fabulous choral game. LeBron came back through seven games, losing three times at the Garden before conquering him in the seventh, leaving Boston 10-1 in their playoff feud. A single loss ... but very expensive. LeBron topped 40 points another three times in that round, going 46 + 11 + 9 in the sixth game and 35 + 15 + 9 in the seventh and averaging 33.6 + 9 + 8.4 at 52.4%. in shots. He reached his eighth consecutive Finals, something that previously only Bill Russell's Celtics had achieved in NBA prehistory, and he still had time to go to 51 points in the inaugural duel against the Warriors. In the end, 4-0, with 34 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10 assists from the King, who gave up the ring but kept his crown, saying goodbye to Ohio with a great ovation that appreciated the services provided and allowed him to leave, this Yes, once, with homework done and a clear conscience.

LeBron has had other extreme performances (the sixth game of the 2012 Eastern Finals, without going any further), but in none has he been so far behind in the bets or has had such a bad team as in those two, when he was below his rivals in theory but, as he has done on other occasions, he transformed reality at will and showed that predictions are to be broken. In 2007, he made a name for himself in the league by being as precocious as he was talented and he showed that he could reach unimaginable heights, ones he has reached and surpassed. In 2018, it was confirmed that he could fight the elements with the same determination as to recover that lost reputation or turn around that feeling that transformed him, back in 2010, into the most hated man on the planet. In those playoffs, he exceeded 50 points once, 40, eight and 30, 12, in addition to getting 11 double-doubles and 4 triple-doubles. In short, two miracles that represent two of the greatest exhibitions in the history of the NBA. Something typical of, you know, a legend.

Photos from as.com
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