Ranking LeBron James' 3 greatest performances in an NBA Playoffs series against the Boston Celtics

LeBron James #23 of the LA Lakers.
LeBron James #23 of the LA Lakers.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, LeBron James could be returning to NBA action on Friday when the LA Lakers face the Boston Celtics on the road. The LA Lakers would definitely love to have James back, as they are currently 8-7 and far from living up to their expectations as NBA title contenders.

The 36-year-old, who is arguably the greatest player in NBA history, has missed two weeks due to an abdominal strain, and the LA Lakers have gone 3-4 in the seven games he's missed due to the injury. Overall, James has missed nine games in the 2021-22 NBA season, and the LA Lakers have a 4-5 record in those matches.

ESPN story on the optimism surrounding a LeBron James return to the Lakers lineup on Friday in Boston:

The LA Lakers would definitely enjoy having LeBron James back in the lineup, especially against the Boston Celtics. LeBron James has a 32-22 record against the Celtics in his career, and a 25-16 record in the NBA Playoffs.

Of course, things did not start out well for him against the Celtics in the NBA Playoffs, as the 'Big Three' of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce defeated his Cleveland Cavaliers twice in 2008 and 2010, but James formed the 'Big Three' in Miami, with all guys in their prime, and reversed the trend against Boston.

In his entire NBA Playoffs career against Boston, LeBron James averages 29.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game with 48/31/70 shooting splits.

He's played in seven postseason series against the Boston Celtics, and LeBron James' teams have emerged victorious five times.

In this article, we will take a look at LeBron James' best series performances against the Boston Celtics in his NBA career.

Without further ado, let us take a look.

#3 2017 Eastern Conference Finals | 2017 NBA Playoffs

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were simply dominant in the Eastern Conference during the 2017 NBA Playoffs. The team went 12-1 in the East to make it to the 2017 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors and Kevin Durant.

In the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron James' old rivals, the Boston Celtics, were waiting, and Cleveland put on a show to defeat Brad Stevens' team. James scored four times over 30 points in the five-game series and led the Cavs to a comfortable win.

In two of the four wins, Cleveland won by over 30 points, including a 130-86 blowout in Game 2 at Boston. James averaged 29.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game. He dominated offensively, making 58% of his field goals in the series.

#2 2018 Eastern Conference Finals | 2018 NBA Playoffs

LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The 2018 NBA Playoffs are often referred to as the greatest individual performance ever seen by a player, and that's what LeBron James generated with his performances against Eastern Conference rivals during that year.

Whether that was LeBron James' best level ever is up for debate, but what is a certainty is that he dominated the Boston Celtics in a tremendous seven-game series that finished with the Cleveland Cavaliers going to the NBA Finals, which was James' eighth straight (from 2011 to 2018).

James was brilliant in the series, averaging 33.6 points, 8.4 assists and nine rebounds per game. He put up a 52/40/69 shooting split in the series, and some of his most impressive stat lines from the series included 46 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in Game 6, and 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in Game 7.

LeBron James had three games with at least 40 points in that series and dominated to put the Cavs in the NBA Finals.

#1 2012 Eastern Conference Finals | 2012 NBA Playoffs

LeBron James with the Miami Heat.
LeBron James with the Miami Heat.

The 2012 Eastern Conference Finals should definitely be up there with the 2016 NBA Finals as LeBron James' most iconic series in the NBA Playoffs.

On his way to winning his first NBA title, LeBron James seemingly had to face the Boston Celtics in the postseason. In the first two series, things went to the Celtics' side, while he broke through in 2011 with the 'Big Three' Miami Heat.

Of course, 2011 did not end well for LeBron James' Heat in the NBA Finals, and the 2012 NBA Playoffs were packed with pressure on 'The King'.

After taking a 2-0 lead in the ECF against Boston, the series looked in Miami's control. However, the 'Big Three' Celtics, who were in reality led by Rajon Rondo, clapped back and took a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6 on their home floor.

James played well individually up to that point, but most of the blame would've gone his way if the favorite Heat had not reached the 2012 NBA Finals. 'The King' had scored at least 30 points in four of their first five games in the series, but the Heat were facing elimination at Boston's TD Garden in Game 6.

LeBron James' Game 6 against the Boston Celtics in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals was arguably his greatest ever game. He put up 45 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists and made 19 of his 26 shots to guide Miami to a 19-point win and force a Game 7.

In Game 7, at home, James kept his level and the Heat put the Celtics away with 31 points and 12 rebounds from 'The King'.

Overall, LeBron James averaged 33.6 points, 11 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game in the seven-game series and made 52.7% of his field goals.

Also read: LeBron James could return on Friday vs the Boston Celtics - Adrian Wojnarowski

Edited by Arnav

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