LeBron James Is At A Different Level In Series-Ending Games

LeBron James was at a different level in Game 5 against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, in a win that advanced the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Finals. He finished with 38 points, 16 rebound and 10 assists, including 16 points in the fourth quarter.

According to Elias Sports, with this win, LeBron James improves to a .792 win percentage at 38-10 all-time in closeout games. This is the best record by any player in NBA playoff history who’s played in at least 25 games. He’s only gotten better over time, as James is 16-1 in closeout games since 2015. 

After the game, James was asked about his mindset in closeout games. His answer was excellent, talking about the success and even the failures he’s had in these games.

“I’ve always had the mindset that in a closeout game for me personally, I’m just as desperate as the team that we are trying to close out. I don’t want to play another game. And if we are in a position where we can win that game, that’s just my mindset. Does it always go that route? No, because I’m not undefeated in close-out games.”

His coach, Frank Vogel, described James’ Game 5 closeout performance as something he had never seen before.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed a guy take over the game the way he did in the fourth quarter tonight in person .It was remarkable. … Obviously, taking over down the stretch, possession after possession after possession of big shots, big plays. Just a remarkable performance.”

This will be the first time the Lakers have been in the NBA Finals since 2010. James is also the first player to ever reach the NBA Finals with five different head coaches. The Los Angeles Lakers will match up with the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals.