Cavs: ‘SportsCenter’ flashes back to LeBron James’ unreal Game 5 of 2007 ECF

Former Cleveland Cavaliers Daniel Gibson (left) and LeBron James. AFP PHOTO/JEFF HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Cleveland Cavaliers Daniel Gibson (left) and LeBron James. AFP PHOTO/JEFF HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images) /

In a recent tweet on Sunday, ESPN’s “SportsCenter” flashed back to LeBron James’ unreal Game 5 performance against the Detroit Pistons for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals. That’s been one of the King’s greatest games, and is quite a fond memory for us Cavs fans.

With the 2019-20 NBA season on hiatus until further notice for the Cleveland Cavaliers and other teams, and the league seemingly “angling” to cancel the rest of the season according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on Friday given concerns involving the novel coronavirus pandemic, it’s at least nice to look back on some amazing memories.

The league is, for context, exploring alternative possibilities to finish the season out at some point, but as far reported potential scenarios and/or the financial fallout of a cancelled season, you can view those here. It is again, fun to look back on some awesome memories from earlier on for us Cavs fans in the mean time regardless, though.

Those of course include times involving the LeBron James return years of 2014-15 through 2017-18, in which the King, Kyrie Irving and company brought home a championship over the Golden State Warriors after overcoming a 3-1 deficit in 2016. That’s the only time a team overcame a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, and the Cavs did that in the year when the Warriors broke the league’s regular season record for wins with 73, too.

While those years were unbelievable for us Cavs fans, the early LeBron years had their own share of memories as well, and ESPN’s “SportsCenter” flashed back to one of those in a recent tweet on Sunday.

That was Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals at the Detroit Pistons, when the then-22-year-old LeBron put the Wine and Gold on his back.

James had 48 points, including the last 25 points for the Wine and Gold, factoring in regulation and in overtime, when the Cleveland Cavaliers eventually won 109-107 and took a 3-2 series lead at the time.

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In this one, the King had his jumper working, including shooting two-of-three from three-point range, and he was taking the ball to the basket with incredible ferocity, even against a rock solid Pistons’ defensive core still involving Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups and in this case, Chris Webber was still an interior presence defensively.

Ben Wallace was not a member of the Pistons at this time, but Detroit’s team defensively was among the best in the league, still, and James vaulting the Cavaliers to a W in this Game 5, in the way he did, hitting 18-of-33 from the field on the road, per Basketball Reference, was truly unreal. He was again, just 22, too.

Keep in mind, James also had nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals, and aside from Zydrunas Ilgauskas and bench contributor Daniel Gibson, who combined for 27 points, the Cavs did not have a player that had double-digits in the game. Gibson also had 11.

This was an Eastern Conference Finals game, need I repeat.

Fortunately for James and the Cavs, Gibson, a then-rookie, had the best game of his career when accounting for the stage, in the following Game 6. Gibson had 31 points, including 19 massive points in the fourth quarter.

Gibson was five-of-five from three-point range, seven-of-nine from the field and he was 12-of-15 from the free throw line in that one, according to Basketball Reference, to essentially put the Pistons away. As a result, he, Bron and the Cavs reached their first NBA Finals in team history, after initially falling behind 0-2 to Detroit.

The Wine and Gold were badly over-matched against the San Antonio Spurs and Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and others, and were eventually swept in that series, but James’ unreal Game 5 ECF performance played a huge role in Cleveland even getting there.

Anyhow, this LeBron Game 5 performance in the 2007 ECF was quite a fond memory for NBA fans in general, and especially, us fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

That’s even more so the case during this time without the NBA in action due to the COVID-19 pandemic/social distancing, and this SportsCenter move warrants a two-thumbs up reaction by me and I’m sure so many others. Bron at that time was one of the best on-ball defenders in the NBA, and had a tough workload there, too, which made this performance even more impressive.

Meanwhile, it’s uncertain if James and his Los Angeles Lakers will eventually be able to have a chance at a championship at some point for this season, which may or may not resume at some point later this year.

James, who has averaged 25.7 points, a league-leading 10.6 assists, 7.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals per outing, is right in the thick of the MVP race with the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo for this season, too, but again, SportsCenter flashing back to that ’07 Game 5 ECF performance allowed us Cavs fans to take a nice stroll down memory lane.

The Cavs, on the other hand, are amid a full-rebuild and 19-46 currently in 2019-20, but they have promising young pieces in Collin Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr. and Darius Garland that have been able to play big minutes for their progression this year, which has been a solid silver lining.

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Cleveland also seemingly having a very high pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, whenever that ultimately is, is a positive, too.