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A look back at LeBron’s Game 7s… he wins when he gets help

Jun 20, 2013, 9:14 AM EDT

Miami Heat's James runs downcourt after scoring against the Indiana Pacers during Game 7 of their NBA Eastern Conference final basketball playoff in Miami Reuters

LeBron James has never before been in an NBA Finals Game 7. Which isn’t a shock, there are not many of those.

But he has been in four Game 7s before, and when you look back at them you see a pretty unmistakable pattern — he puts up good numbers, but he only wins when somebody else steps up to help.

Which makes Thursday’s Game 7 interesting. Dwyane Wade is playing on two bad knees now and may not be the 2006 version of himself. Chris Bosh has to deal with Tim Duncan. So who is it going to be, who is the other guy that is going to step up? Mario Chalmers? Mike Miller?

Because history shows somebody has to. Here is a look at LeBron’s previous Game 7s, starting with the one from a couple weeks ago:

June 3, 2013: Heat 99, Pacers 76: LeBron put up big numbers — 32 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists — but it was his work on the other end that was key. LeBron was asked to cover Paul George and he put the Pacers leader in a straightjacket, holding him to 2-of-9 shooting. LeBron got help from Wade (21 points) and Ray Allen (10) but it was really the intense Heat team defense and a big second quarter that won them this game.

June 9, 2012: Heat 101, Celtics 88: LeBron had an impressive 31 points on 21 shots, but he got help — Wade had 23, Chris Bosh had 19 and Shane Battier 12. Unlike the win over the Pacers this was all about the Heat offense — this was a good Celtics defense that could just do nothing to stop Miami when it mattered most.

May 18, 2008: Celtics 97, Cavaliers 91: LeBron had a monster game — 45 points on 29 shots — but it was him against the world. Only one other Cavaliers player — Delonte West with 15 points — was in double digits and Cavaliers not named LeBron shot 42 percent. These Celtics, on their way to a title, but 41 points out of Paul Pierce, while big men Kevin Garnett (13 points) and P.J. Brown (10) were key.

May 21, 2006: Pistons 79, Cavaliers 61: This was a very good defensive team in Detroit and it showed this day. LeBron put up a respectable 27 points on 24 shots, but the rest of the Cavaliers combined to shoot 22 percent for the game (9-for-41). The Pistons went on to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to a buzz saw of a Heat team led by Dwyane Wade (and Shaquille O’Neal).

  1. cantonbound13 - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    He wins when he gets help? Yeah he belongs in the same discussion as MJ.

    • azarkhan - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:50 AM

      We’ve examined your X-rays and we think we know what your problem is. Your head is stuck up your a$$. Please contact us to schedule surgery. Thank you.

    • totallyuselessme - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      Are you retarded?

      How many championships did Jordan win without Pippen? Zero.

      That’s without mentioning Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, Bill Cartwright, Luc Longley, or even great bench players like BJ Armstrong.

      Jordan winning stuff by himself is a myth. In the 1991 and 1992 seasons, Pippen was actually the better player statistically.

    • jt1138 - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      How many HoFers do the Spurs have?

      How bout the Celtics in all their runs?

      The Lakers in their eras?

      The Bulls had a good number of HoFers as well.

      That’s why Melo won’t be contending on the Knicks.

      All legends need help.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        None of those HOFers chose their all star supporting cast. They all developed together. But none of them would win anything if Magic, Bird and Michael were on other teams. Wade won without LeBron.

    • miamatt - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      My memory must be hazy, I seem to recall MJ playing with one of the 50 greatest players ever in Scottie Pippen, the greatest rebounder of the past 30 years in Dennis Rodman, guys like Paxson and Kerr nailing dagger threes, the best European player at the time in Kukoc…. oh yeah, and he maybe played for the greatest coach of all time.

      None of that is to take credit away from Jordan, but to suggest he had no help? Nationally, Jordan was seen as a selfish, statistics-obsessed ball-hog who couldn’t win the big one until he had help- and until he allowed the help to play a prominent role. If you disagree with that, you really weren’t a fan then.

      But, I guess a troll is as a troll does.

    • tapeterson2155 - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:33 PM


    • gmsingh123 - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      I don’t think Kurt is telling the whole tale: he can’t win unless he has help–but that was before he discovered playing without a headband!!! If he would just strap a pyramid to his head the Heat will win by 100 pts.

    • gmsingh123 - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      Note to cantonbound: whenever I see these kinds of stories I’m reminded of the Bob Dylan song “The Disease of Conceit”. People think that if they are watching it in the here and now it is somehow more important than it really is. The worst example I’ve ever seen is when Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game record. Sure, it’s a big accomplishment, but you have one of the most mediocre players of all time beating the record of one of the top five players in the history of baseball, and only because Gehrig contracted a fatal disease that soon killed him. LeBron certainly isn’t mediocre the way Ripken was, but, when we look back on this ten years from now we will NEVER be comparing his postseason performance to MJ. Just the way Lebron and co. stand around after they get called for fouls and look dumbfounded takes them out of the discussion. And then there is the twenty other reasons. People can mentally masturbate about Lebron’s “greatness” all they want, but eventually reality will set in.

      • borderline1988 - Jun 21, 2013 at 12:52 AM

        Chomp chomp…do I hear the sound of someone eating their own words?

        37 points, 12 rebounds. This coming after a triple double in game 6. How much more can you ask for?

      • gmsingh123 - Jun 22, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        Lebron did just fine. He just can’t carry the whole team the way MJ or Kobe could. If you don’t see the difference you’re entitled to your opinion, but don’t expect me to agree.

  2. reesesteel23 - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    They mentioned MJ in this article?…::scrolls back up::

    • rod2771 - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      Ritchie is upset because his Melo blow up doll popped. Apparently the doll just couldn’t take the pounding in the end.

  3. azarkhan - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    LeBron James needing help is so unlike the divine Michael Jordan, who won every game by himself. Jordan never got help from Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, John Paxson, Steve Kerr, Horace Grant, Ron Harper et al.

  4. jbeagles23 - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Yea mj never had help lol

  5. golfrangeman - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Incase you hadn’t noticed cantonbound has never had anything intelligent to say. I guess that’s what happens after centuries of inbreeding.

    • hehateme2 - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:53 AM

      Not sure on the inbreeding part but you may be onto something there. It’s more too much time on his hands with nothing of value to do and being eaten alive with jealousy.
      The HEAT are everything the nicks are not and he seems starved for attention. Spewing lies thru blogs and all his posts simply invite negative comments. He has little to no support…. sad really…

      • rod2771 - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        When Ritchie isn’t calling sports talk radio shows in Miami he graces us with his intellect.

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:46 PM

        Just another arrogant NY a$$hole. Nothing more.

  6. canadianpride2 - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Lebron is going to get help tonight. Maybe not from his teammates, but probably from Danny Crawford & Scott Foster.

  7. Great Caesar's Ghost - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    It’s “Games 7” not “Game 7s.”

  8. dolphindubs - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Look at this. It’s not pro-LeBron people that are always making the MJ comparisons. It’s always anti-LeBron people that make the comparisons, and then they have the audacity to complain about people making them.

    But let’s not forget… You can’t compare LeBron right now to Michael Jordans entire career. You have to compare their same amount of years to get a better understanding. Not that I’m making the comparison, just pointing out a better way TO compare if one so desired.

  9. jzone954 - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Coming from a Knicks fan…..(giggle,giggle)

  10. money2long - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    imagine if the heat had reggie evans

  11. mediocrebob - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Jordan didn’t have help. Just another top 50 player of all time. Kobe never had help either.

  12. jzone954 - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Either way. Enjoy this. It’s been a great season. A great finals. I mean. It’s been fun and nerve racking to watch be a heat fan. May the best team win. God bless all of you and your families on this blog. Enjoy the game

  13. dolphindubs - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Jordan needed as much help to win his rings as anyone. Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen, and even Dennis Rodman. You can say that he made those guys HOF’ers and without him they wouldn’t have been, but if that’s true then why didn’t he make previous coaches and previous teammates HOF’ers? The fact is they werent, but those guys were. And once Jordan got HOF’ers around him, he was then able to win.

    Because he didnt accomplish anything without them. Remember that.

  14. messiaheat - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    As a Heat fan, I ain’t sayin’ s%!* ’til this game is over! The pressure is on for both teams. Win or lose, cantonbound69 will be jerkin’ it and tapping away at his computer. If we win, it’s ALL because of the refs. If we lose, it’s because LeBron is “just your average player.” Either way, cantonbound will still have his Melo doll to keep him warm at night.

    The Spurs are incredible, the Heat are incredible, and we’ve all seen both teams come back and blow us away. Truly, truly terrifying. Green’s 3s, Duncan’s wisdom and tenacity, Parker’s unbelievable “there’s no way he’s going to make that one” lay-ups…

    And then there’s the Heat, a team I will love ’til the end.


    I wish I could just knock out and wake up when it’s all over…

  15. lemfaxx - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Thats why Its a team basketball. Everybody was involved not necessary in offense but also in defense. The Best team wins

  16. elcapitanfiscal - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Lol canton is trolling or he is indeed mj in disguise hating on bron

  17. dolphindubs - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:22 PM


    But maybe those HOF’ers wouldnt have won anything if THEY didnt have those guys, instead of the other way around. You could say Jordan MADE Phil Jackson and Scottie Pippen HOF’ers, but if thats the case, then why didnt Jordan make previous coaches and teammates HOF’ers?

    Remember, Jordan didnt accomplish anything without those HOF’ers around him. He couldnt even reach a Finals, let alone win one. LeBron reached one without studs around him at least.

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