Where Does This Fit?

How does one score his team’s last twenty-five points?[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJahvw2ZI1o]

Better yet how does one score his team’s last twenty-five points running the same pick-and-roll play for almost every possession?

Wait, how does one score his team’s last twenty-five points running the same pick-and-roll play for almost every possession, and everyone in the gym knows that you are going to shoot the ball because none of your teammates can be ‘counted on’ to score?

Or how does one score his team’s last twenty-five points running the same pick-and-roll play for almost every possession, and everyone in the gym knows that you are going to shoot the ball because none of your teammates can be counted on to score, and you are playing against arguably the best defense in the league?

How does this happen?

His performance was so superior that few people have seen this highlight. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh3R8v5f6TQ]

What LeBron James did Thursday night is the stuff legends are made of. Where does King James’ performance against the Detroit Pistons in game five of the Eastern Conference finals rank in the annals of all-time sports achievements?

How does this rank with Phil Simms’ performance in Super Bowl XXI when he completed 22 of 25 passes to lead the New York Giants to victory?

How does this compare to Christian Laettner’s showing in the 1992 Eastern Regional Final? Laettner was perfect from the field including his tenth shot at the buzzer in triple overtime to send the Duke Blue Devils to the Final Four. He also was a perfect ten-for-ten from the line that night.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY-iq58_oz4]

And MJ’s 63 against the Celtics in the ’86 playoffs? How does LeBron’s deluge compare?
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEkFYZPTSwM]

Can we compare LeBron’s game to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point eye-popper against the Knicks in 1962?

Or consider tennis for a moment. In the 1984 Wimbledon final John McEnroe committed ZERO double faults and had a mere four unforced errors while dispensing three-time champion Jimmy Connors in straight sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. McEnroe’s showing has a striking comparison to LeBron’s. The Pistons might be the best defensive squad in the NBA, and Jimmy Connors was the best return man in tennis. Yet Mac, playing as if Harry Callahan was whispering in his ear: “A man’s got to know his limitations”[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=FbGqQmBtdTo], deftly combined a wide slice serve with punches up the middle to keep Connors off-balance on that July afternoon.

Let’s not forget Jack Givens. The ‘Goose’ scored 41 points in the 1978 National Final game to lead Kentucky to victory over Duke – this before the acceptance of the three point line.

Dare I forget Joe Montana’s performance in the 1979 Cotton Bowl. Suffering from hypothermia, Montana led the Fightin’ Irish back from a 34-12 deficit to win 35-34 in what has become known as the ‘Chicken Soup Game’.[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=1dPt5LHg6Dw]

Can we compare LeBron’s Thursday night accomplishment with other achievements?

How about Bob Gibson’s ERA of 1.12 during the ’68 season?[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i12_9wNKHkE]

Or the year before, during what is known as the pitcher’s era, Carl Yastrzemski hit for the Triple Crown while batting .326, hitting 44 round-trippers, and knocking in 121. Can we cast LeBron next to Yaz?[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGhcavwAzaE]

Why stop there? How about Oscar Robertson’s 1961-62 season?[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecgwZVnvPIc] The Big O averaged a triple-double for the ENTIRE season! How does LeBron stack up?

Let’s consider Bobby Orr’s 1969-1970 season. As a defenseman he led the league in scoring, won the Hart Trophy(MVP Regular Season), won the Norris Trophy(league’s best defenseman), won the Conn Smythe (MVP Playoffs), and led his team to the Stanley Cup.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXrswWuDjTI] How does LeBron compare to the ‘Golden Boy’ from Parry Sound?

How does LeBron compare to DiMaggio’s 56? To Teddy Ballgame’s .406? Or to Teddy’s 84 consecutive games reaching base safely?[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwogLVGtDa8]

To Don Drysdale’s 58-consecutive-scoreless-innings-pitched?

Taking it a little further – how does LeBron’s accomplishment compare to Bill Russell? Between his time playing for the University of San Francisco and Boston Celtics, Russell played on teams that won twelve chan’ships! That’s twelve chan’ships in fifteen years![youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ab6Tex4H1Y]

What have I omitted? Where should we place LeBron’s Thursday night performance?

11 Responses to "Where Does This Fit?"

  1. Z Dubbs   June 3, 2007 at 12:40 am

    I don’t think this holds water with any of those moments. I don’t see this being talked about with the same prestige and admiration as these other moments mentioned. The NBA no longer has any teams that play defense, and nothing really seemed spectacular. When Jordan dropped 63 on the Celtics, that team was amazing. The NBA isn’t the same as it once was, and I don’t rank this among any of the moments mentioned.

  2. DG   June 3, 2007 at 10:41 am

    First and foremost I would like to say that the more I watch and listen to Lebron the more I am becoming a fan of his. It isn’t easy being 22 and the face of the league. When he is interviewed he says all the right things and I think on the court he does just about all the right things. If I hear one more commentator say that Lebron doesn’t want to take the big shot, I am gonna puke. He is just tweaking what the defense is giving him. I don’t know if these commentators happen to remember a certain Michael Jordan passing off to Steve Kerr, John Paxson, or Craig Hodges for big buckets. The only difference is that Jordan’s teamates made the buckets and Lebron’s didn’t. These are the same commentators that if those baskets were made would say that Lebron is an excellent passer and such and unselfish player. Ok now that I got that off of my chest.
    When we think about Lebron’s performance the other night we first have to take it into perspective. We can’t compare it to someones performance in an entire season. It has to be a single game situation. I can not say that I saw the game. But I will say that is a huge performance. Especially considering the importance of the game. NBA conference finals, I mean only thing that gets bigger is game 7 for the NBA championship. This is all I can say but I think this is just the first chapter in the great career of Lebron James. I think there are many more of these performaces to come.
    Peace I’m out

  3. Reynell   June 3, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    Statistically I don’t think it can be argued that what LeBron did was one of the greatest single-game feats in playoffs history. I don’t know where it ranks, but it ranks somewhere. Sure he did it in the mediocre Eastern Conference against a jaded Pistons team that is more concerned about contract years than championship runs, but he entered one of those “We are NOT going to lose this game” moments that create legends. This is something Kobe cannot accomplish. While Kobe hits the airwaves with his “trade me or get someone in here to help me” rants, LeBron is taking his putrid supporting cast and throwing them on his back. Put Odom on the Cavs; swap Ilgauskus with one of the Lakers young big men; hell, give the Cavs Jordan Farmar. Any of these guys would change the outlook of that team, yet LeBron seems to be getting it done regardless. Those “against all odds” moments rarely come along. There are great statistical games and miracle shots, then there are those games that still leave you asking, “Wait, how did they pull that off?” This makes me think of Reed limping into Madison Square Garden or Magic playing center. It also conjures up MJ’s “flu game.” How many guys now-a-days would play in that condition and STILL put the numbers up he did AND the minutes? Now, I know that LeBron wasn’t sick or injured. He also was not in a state of discomfort, which most pro athletes fear today. He wasn’t playing out of position either. But playing with that Cavs lineup has to be some kind of handicap, right? LeBron decided that they were not going to lose that game and that was it. At that moment, he took his first step in transcending towards legendary status (if he can keep up this pace of course). The best? Definitely not – but it must at least be considered.

    On a complete side note: Bringing up Jordan’s “flu Game” makes me think of Roger Clemens. Push your starting date back one more series, Roger. Your team is in the basement in June and you’re worried that your groin is hurting? YOU’RE 45 YEARS OLD – EVERYTHING IS GOING TO HURT! You signed the ridiculous contract, now play the game. Maybe you should chase some of your HGH with vicadin if you’re that suprised over a groin injury at the age of 45 while pitching in professionally.

  4. Pete Crossword   June 3, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    Casey; thanks for video replays of many of sports’ greatest moments. Z Dubbs, I hear your point about remembering, but I judge for myself, not for the impact on the masses. King James’ performnace was one of the best ever, whether it is remembered or not. DG and Reynell, you make comments about LeBron’s lack of support. I think that in basketball in particular, every great performance except Wilt’s 100 included a strong supporting cast. That is, every great moment until now (LeBron’s)
    That is why my greatest sports accomplishments occur in racing, an individual sport.
    My favorite season is Fall, and I think it is no mere coincidence that my greatest sports feats occurred in the Fall.
    The first occurred on 11/1/38. Seabiscuit beat War Admiral. The inferior horse combined good strategy by his trainer and jockey, just enough talent, and a bit of luck to beat a horse far superior to him. It was the “perfect storm”, everything coming to gether at the right moment. And in coming together in that way, Seabiscuit beat nearly insurmountable odds; the home track of War Admiral, the unusual start favoring his opponent, the weight advantage and age advantage of the Admiral, the strange jockey and the complete change in race strategyfor the Biscuit. But none of it would have happened if not for the “will to win” of Seabiscuit. And Seabiscuit would have won if it was George Woolf, Red Pollard, or yours truly in the saddle.
    The second occurred on 10/15/00. The Talladega 500 would restsrat with only 5 laps to go. Dale Earnhardt was mired in 18th. At Talladega there is an inside row and an outside row, but anyone using the “middle” row will drop like a rock in water. I had heard that Earnhardt could “see” the air, but until that day I didn’t believe. Earnhardt took to the middle row, but instead of dropping he went to the front. Impossible, never done before, and never done since, but Earnhardt “saw” an opening and took it. A performance like that trancends expectations for any athlete.
    Call me weird, and say racing is not a sport or racers/horses are not athletes, but those are two of the greatest sports performances I have ever heard of.
    10/15 again is significant for me, because on that day in 2005 ND lost to USC in what I believe to be the best college football game ever played. Of course I am biased, but like Seabiscuit, ND was totally overmatched, but through clever strategy (the tall grass), controlled emotions, and a bit of luck ND was in a game when they had no right to be so. Best game I ever saw.

  5. ccww   June 4, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    Don’t have a lot of time, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. First of all, Casey, you did alot of work to cobble together all those video clips! Now that’s dedication to the cause and you should be commended for that. Thanks!

    Second … to the question at hand about LeBron’s performance in that game and how it stacks up … It was a great individual performance, no doubt about it. Still, I don’t think it will go down in memory as one of the all-time great games for a few reasons, some of which have been commented on already. 1) Not as good as MJ’s collasal 63 point effort against the Celtics in the playoffs. 2) Cavs vs Pistons in the ’07 Eastern Conference Finals just isn’t resonating. Not sure why exactly … maybe the perception that the whole Eastern Conference stinks right now. Now, if he’s able to do something similar again in a pivotal game in the NBA Finals vs the Spurs, then I think we’ve got something to discuss.

    Lastly, regarding Clemens, a “fatigued groin”???? Puh-lease! I’d like to have a fatigued groin, too, but for different reasons 🙂

    Wally

  6. ccww   June 4, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Brother Reynell – that was well worth the wait. Please contribute to this site on a regular basis. There is a void without you.

    Pete- you are the man. All of us should take the time to read Seabiscuit. Truly a remarkable story.

    Z – this old-timer might be referring to this event in the future as – ‘oh yeah, did he throw down 25 in a row in a conference finals?

    Wally – putting together the videos was a labor of love. Now I gotta figure out why my pc doesn’t acknowledge it.

    Casey

  7. ccww   June 4, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    almost forgot – Wally, good luck with the fatigued-groin thing. 🙂

    Casey

  8. ccww   June 4, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    Thought I’d add on one more for good measure.
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=M3P-jFYeonk

    Casey

  9. Scooter   June 6, 2007 at 1:27 am

    This is my first time on the site and actually commenting so I guess we should pop the cork on a bottle of the bubbly! It’s been along time coming huh Casey? Reading all your BLOGS (thats what their called right) is overwhelming, all I can say is Wow all of you can write! Casey you have a talent and apparently alot of time on your hands to put together all those video clips (just kidding) They were awesome. I’m not much of a writer but I do have a comment about Lebron’s performance. It was awesome and I enjoyed watching every minute of it. Lebron is a special player and by the time his career is over, as long as he stays healthy, he may be the best player to ever play in the NBA. His performance thursday is just a drop in the bucket of an elustrious career.

    (Casey how do you spell elustrious correctly)

  10. ccww   June 6, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    illustrious

    Casey

  11. scozzy   June 6, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    Let’s not get toooo carried away. One game does not make a legend! It’s all about winning. Where would Payton rank without his ring?

    Mike

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