The Cavaliers had a very bad start to their Thursday evening in Game 3 against the Pacers. It was one of those nights where you get ready to hang out with some friends, and you've got all these cool expectations, and then... oh god, someone dropped the entire case of beers, and... oh, no, something is ON FIRE WHY IS SOMETHING ON FIRE?!
Things devolved pretty quickly for the Cavs, as they fell behind the Pacers by double-digits after one quarter and by 20 points after 21 minutes.
By the end of the first half, Cleveland was trailing Indiana by 25 points, and things were looking extra glum. Like, historically glum:
72 points are the most any LeBron James team has allowed in a half of a postseason game.-- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 21, 2017
And the Pacers actually finished with 74 points in the first half! They added two more just to be extra insulting!
By this point, I had given up on rooting for a comeback. The game had to be over, right? A 25-point lead was undoubtedly insurmountable. Like, there was just no way. I've watched LeBron do incredible things so many times, things I never thought he could ever do, but how could he will an underperforming Cavs team to out-score the Pacers by 26 points in 24 minutes, on the road?!
Well, he did it.
The comeback, admittedly, started slowly. After pulling within 15 points halfway through the third quarter, the Pacers proceeded to stretch things back out to 20 points with just 16 minutes left to play. Not exactly a great situation.
But the Cavs kept chipping away, complete with 13 points and four assists from their main man LeBron, who was scorching all night long. He finished the game with an eye-popping stat line: 41 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists.
Most Triple-Doubles - Playoff Career-- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 21, 2017
Magic Johnson 30
LeBron James 17
But the stats didn't mean anything until the Cavaliers were back in the lead, because LeBron doesn't really care about numbers scored anymore, he just wants trophies. So as the Cavs got closer and closer, he kept powering through the Pacers' defense, and then with the game tied midway through the fourth quarter, LeBron did THIS:
MY GOODNESS. ? pic.twitter.com/EB9Weu48tl-- Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) April 21, 2017
LeBron scored seven more points and notched another assist after that dunk to keep the Pacers at bay, but nothing really mattered. Because when he destroyed that hoop, he destroyed all of Indiana. The city is now a flaming pile of sad basketball fans.
So sorry, Indiana.
... oh, what's that, you need more LeBron stats from the ridiculous night? Alright, we'll give you one more to tide you over until the Cavs play again and Playoff LeBron rears his head to scare the bejeezus out of every other team:
LeBron James scored or assisted on 73 points, the most in a playoff game in his career.-- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 21, 2017
That's right. LeBron scored 41 points, and dished out 12 assists, three of which led to three-pointers. Which means LeBron impacted 73 of the Cavs' 119 points on Thursday night, which is absolutely nuts.
We've loved the MVP race all season long between James Harden and Russell Westbrook, but... did we forget how good LeBron is?
Thanks to Thursday night, we're not about to go forgetting any time soon.