I am a critic of LeBron James' game. There is no sense in denying that. He has the physical tools and basketball IQ to do things that should transcend the game. And yet far too often, he does not impose his will upon the game in big moments.
That was not the case in Game 6 against his personal nemesis, the Boston Celtics.
In a game that could be seen as a transcendent moment in his career—a flash point from frustration to full-fledged greatness—LeBron absolutely destroyed Boston. The stats are impressive on their own: 45 points, 15 rebounds, five assists. It would be one thing if he just put up large numbers; that has happened before.
No, the magnificent thing about this game, this performance, this breakthrough is that he seemed to take the game by the throat and squeeze early. The Celtics never had a chance in the game and that's because James would not allow it. And that type of effort and efficiency is precisely what people have expected from a player who seems capable of doing anything on a basketball court.
That said, I do not expect a rout Saturday night's Game 7 by any stretch. The Celtics are far too proud to lie down and just give away a surprise trip to the NBA Finals.
Plus, they seem encouraged by the fact that history suggests James will not have another transcendent performance like this. That is precisely my point for this article: If Miami does not deliver in Game 7, one of the best basketball performances ever will be largely forgotten.
Here are the five best playoff performances in NBA history that have been forgotten because the individual played on a team that would lose the series.