LeBron Vs Jordan Vs Kobe: Who Is King of the Playoff Comebacks?

The Cleveland Cavaliers confirmed they will not relinquish their grip on the Eastern Conference without a fight, after drawing level in the series against Boston thanks to another superb performance from LeBron James.

The triple ring-holder scored 44 points on Monday night, shooting 60.7 percent from the field as the Cavs beat the Celtics 111-102 on home court to tie the series at 2-2. LeBron has now scored 40 or more points in six of the 15 games he’s played in this postseason and has passed the 30-point barrier in a playoff game against Boston an astonishing 22 times.

LeBron’s latest exploits revived the discussion over where he should rank among the all-time greats. While the debate will probably continue long after his retirement, the four-time MVP has already surpassed Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant—the two players he’s most often compared with—in at least one aspect of the game.

GettyImages-961183590 LeBron James in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Four of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 21, 2018 in Cleveland. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

By drawing the series level against the Celtics, LeBron, who has surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leader in field goals in NBA playoffs history, became only the second player in NBA history to come from 0-2 down in a playoff series three times.

Robert Horry is the only other player to have done so—in 1994 and in 1995 as the Houston Rockets overcame the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals and in 2007 as the San Antonio Spurs beat the New Orleans Hornets 4-2 at the same stage.

Before Monday night, James had done it twice—leading Cleveland to its first conference title by defeating the Detroit Pistons 4-2 in 2007 and in 2016 when the Cavs became the first team in NBA Finals history to recover from a 3-1 deficit.

Jordan and Bryant, meanwhile, came back from 2-0 down twice in their postseason careers but, unlike LeBron, only won one of those two series.

Jordan overcame a two-game deficit 1990 Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons, only for the Bulls to lose the series 4-3. Meanwhile, at the same stage three years later, Chicago lost the first two games against the Knicks before winning four in a row—with Jordan scoring 54 points in Game Four, the most against the Knicks in a playoff game by any player

Bryant’s record when tasked with rescuing a series in which his side lost the first two games was also mixed. In 2003, chasing a fourth title in a row, the Lakers went 2-0 against San Antonio in the Western Conference and pulled the series back to 2-2, before losing Game Five—when Horry’s potential game-winning three went in and out of the basket—and Game Six.

The following year both teams met at the same stage and the Spurs again took a 2-0 lead, only for the Lakers to come roaring back to win the series 4-2, largely thanks to Derek Fisher’s buzzer beater with 0.4 seconds left in Game Five.

Should the Cavs go on to win the series, they would become only the third team in history to win an Eastern Conference Finals after being 2-0 down, matching their achievement from 2007 and the Baltimore Bullets in 1971, when Baltimore lost the first two games against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden but prevailed 4-3 in the series.

The odds are not in their favor. In the history of the NBA, teams that have taken a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series have gone 281-19 overall, a win percentage of 93.7.

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