As the LeBron James versus Michael Jordan debate rages on, LeBron made yet another stride in the “greatest ever” argument in Game 4 of the NBA Finals when his Cleveland Cavaliers took down the Golden State Warriors by the score of 137-116.
Not only did James pass MJ to become the all-time No. 1 playoff scorer last month, but James now passed Jordan in another category: the all-time Finals scoring list.
When he netted his first basket of the night, King James passed Jordan’s mark of 1,176 Finals points to move into third place on the all-time Finals scoring list.
It’s worth noting that James passed the threshold in his 44th career Finals game while it took Jordan only 35 games to reach his mark. Nonetheless, James trails just Jerry West (1,679) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,317) on the all-time Finals scoring list.
Therefore, given the history of his career, both of those numbers are probably attainable for LeBron before his illustrious career ends.
After James passed MJ in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, he spoke about his respect for the NBA-great in a post-game presser:
"I wear the number because of Mike," James told reporters after that game. "I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike, just because of what he was able to accomplish. When you're watching Michael Jordan it's almost like a god. So I didn't think I could be Mike.”
James’ impact on and off the court has been particularly obvious in Games 3 and 4 of the series. Consider the following incredible numbers:
With James on the court in Game 3, Cleveland outscored Golden State by seven points. But, when he sat out for two minutes, the Warriors outscored the Cavs by 12.
In Game 4, Cleveland outscored Golden State by a shocking 32 points with James on the court, but were outscored by 11 points in the five minutes that he rested.
On Friday night, he had 31 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for a triple-double. It was his third triple-double in the Finals when facing an elimination.
No one else has done that once in the last two decades. When it matters most, LeBron has put his team on his back and has come through.
It was also LeBron’s ninth Finals triple-double, which passed Magic Johnson for the most in NBA history.
LeBron will lead the Cavaliers to Oracle Arena on Monday as they look to extend the series against the Warriors in front of their home fans.