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LeBron James' game one history: what does it mean?

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LeBron James has long been a polarising figure on the basketball court. He's a four-time MVP who has become a household name around the world like only a few have before him.

Last night he was only one assist away from recording a triple-double in game one of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, but it barely made a difference. The Cleveland Cavaliers fell 84-104 to the reigning NBA champions to gain the early upper hand in a rematch of last year's finals.

Even as a 12-time All-Star and proud owner of a number of NBA and franchise records, the media and fans alike continue to obsess about James' success in the NBA finals when talking about the 31-year-old's legacy.

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This is the sixth straight trip to the Finals for the Akron, Ohio-born superstar and not every journey has had the happy ending that James would have strived for.

Following the game one loss to the Warriors, we take a look at how James fared in the five previous game ones during his six-year run and what impact those results had on the rest of the series.

2010-11 Vs Dallas Mavericks

This was the forward's first Finals as a member of the Miami Heat following his move the previous summer in free agency from his hometown franchise, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James infamously departed the Cavs via his 'The Decision' video and it left a lot of bad blood between the franchise star and the organisation that drafted him in 2003. However, ascending to the Finals at the first time of asking seemed like a justification for the move.

Miami Heat v Dallas Mavericks

And things would start so well. The Heat emerged victorious on homecourt against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks behind a team-high 24 points from James himself.

Ultimately, the legendary Nowitzki took over the series and guided the Mavs to their first-ever championship. James is still waiting to this very day to deliver that same thing to Cleveland.

2011-12 Vs Oklahoma City Thunder

In a lockout-shortened season, the Heat only lost 20 games en route to finishing second in the Eastern Conference and heading back to the Finals.

LeBron had returned with more fire than ever that season and put in his second MVP season, the first of which he carried out on South Beach.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat - Game Five

However, the Oklahoma City Thunder, led by Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden would win game one at the Chesapeake Energy Arena 94-105 as LeBron's 30 points were no match for the offensively skilled Thunder.

However, they would be the only victory of the series for the Thunder and the Heat took the next four games to win the second championship in their history. James would secure a Finals MVP to go with his regular season award and the final hoodoo that had followed him around was finally over.

2012-13 Vs San Antonio Spurs

LeBron James has long been a polarising figure on the basketball court. He's a four-time MVP who has become a household name around the world like only a few have before him.

Last night he was only one assist away from recording a triple-double in game one of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, but it barely made a difference. The Cleveland Cavaliers fell 84-104 to the reigning NBA champions, who gain the early upper hand in a rematch of last year's finals.

Even as a 12-time All-Star and proud owner of a number of NBA and franchise records, the media and fans alike continue to obsess about James' success - or lack thereof - in the NBA finals when talking about the 31-year-old's legacy.

BKN-NBA-FINALS-SPURS-HEAT-GAME 7

This is the sixth straight trip to the Finals for the Akron, Ohio-born superstar and not every journey has had the happy ending that James would have strived for.

Following the game one loss to the Warriors, we take a look at how James fared in the five previous game ones during his six-year run and what impact those results had on the rest of the series.

2013-14 Vs San Antonio Spurs

This time around the Heat's Western Conference counterparts enjoyed homecourt advantage in game one thanks to their superior regular season record, and they made it count.

Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker clearly refused to fall at the final hurdle for the second year running, but it was the emergence of a young Kawhi Leonard that stole the show.

Miami Heat v San Antonio Spurs - Game Five

The small forward did a terrific defensive job on LeBron and ended up winning the Finals MVP award for his work.

James still put up 25 points in game one, but the Spurs ran out 95-110 winners at the AT&T Center. That's the same margin of victory the Warriors enjoyed in game one last night.

2014-15 Vs Golden State Warriors

Despite LeBron James pouring in an inhuman 44 points during this game one classic, the Warriors came away with a 100-108 overtime victory at the Oracle Arena in the first game of the series.

The Cavs were depleted without James' primary supporting cast of Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, who were missing thanks to a dislocated shoulder and fractured kneecap respectively.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

James would continue to will the Cavs along as he endeavoured to finally hang a championship banner in the Quicken Loans Arena's rafters, but, even though he carried his side to a pair of victories in the series, ultimately, he couldn't beat a deeply talented Warriors on his own.

Golden State took the series 4-2 to dash LeBron's dreams of literally bringing a championship home. Now they lock horns once again with James hungrier than ever to set the record straight.

Conclusion

So, what can King James learn from his game one experiences? In both of his title wins, he lost game one, so that shouldn't concern him. In fact, the only first game of the series he did win during that period resulted in the Dallas Mavericks hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy, so history is in his favour after the opening reverse.

He has also played the same Finals opponents two years in a row before, splitting the trophy with the Spurs over the course of the two years. Having lost to the Warriors last year, does that mean he will take the series this year?

Topics:
Miami Heat
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
NBA Finals
LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
Western Conference

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