During a pivotal stretch of Thursday night’s Game 6 win in the NBA Finals, LeBron James scored or assisted on 27 straight points for the suddenly streaking Cleveland Cavaliers.
Told of James’ dominance, which helped close out the Golden State Warriors and set up a winner-take-all Game 7, all Kyrie Irving could do was smile and shake his head in disbelief.
“Special, very special,” Irving said, with James sitting just to his right. “When a guy’s got it going like that, it’s just unbelievable to be a part of. I’m not going to say exactly what he said on the bench, but we kind of knew what he was up to, what he was trying to do out there for us offensively. That fourth quarter was unbelievable.”
James scored 41 points, including 18 straight for the Cavaliers during the second half. Four of his game-high 11 assists came during the fourth quarter, with James setting up Tristan Thompson for a pair of dunks and J.R. Smith with two open threes as Cleveland finally put away the pesky Warriors.
You could search the full archives of the NBA Finals and still struggle to find a two-game stretch as impressive as James’ last two performances.
Since going down 3-1 to the winningest team in NBA history, James has produced 82 points, 24 rebounds, 18 assists, seven steals and six blocks over Games 5 and 6. Cleveland won the two games by a combined margin of 29 points.
James and the Cavaliers are now on the doorstep of history, with Sunday’s Game 7 providing an opportunity for Cleveland to snap its championship drought while also becoming the first franchise to come back from 3-1 down to win the NBA Finals.
The divinity of James remains a big reason why.
The King had every part of his game working on Thursday night. James attacked the rim in transition and used his wizardry with the ball to find teammates for easy baskets. Much like Game 5, he evolved into an unstoppable scoring force when his mid-range and three-point shots consistently found the bottom of the net.
His brilliance was summed up beautifully during one stretch in the fourth.
After the Warriors cut Cleveland’s lead to eight points at 84-76, James went on a rampage—scoring off an offensive rebound, hitting a turnaround jumper from 20 feet and putting away a layup from an Irving assist to put the Cavs back up by 11 points. He then dissed out four assists over a two-minute period to all but ensure victory.
It’s hard to put into words just how good James has been in keeping the Cavaliers alive.
“Just unbelievable to be a part of,” Irving said.