April 30 (UPI) — LeBron James made history in more ways than one this weekend by eliminating the Indiana Pacers from the NBA playoffs.
“King James” scored a game-high 45 points and had eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 105-101 victory Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
He won a playoff series for the first time in his career without having a teammate score at least 20 points in a single game. He also moved past Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen to become the NBA’s career leader in playoff steals.
James has 399 robberies in the postseason, while Pippen had 395 and Michael Jordan had 376. The four-time NBA MVP had career-highs in postseason steals in 2012, 2013 and 2016, with his team winning the NBA Finals in each of those years. If he stays on pace by playing in seven games in every series and manages 10 steals in each matchup, he would total 40 steals, the fourth-best total in his career.
“King James” began Sunday’s series finale by shooting 7-for-7 from the field. James’ 45 points were the second-most points ever scored in a Game 7 victory. He is also the first player ever to record at least 20 points in 200 playoff games.
James’ 6,404 points in the playoffs are the most in NBA history.
The series victory means the Cavaliers will face off against the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of a second-round Eastern Conference playoff series at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
”I’m burnt right now,” James told reporters after Sunday’s win. ”I’m not thinking about Toronto right now until tomorrow. I’m ready to go home. Can we? I’m tired. I want to go home.”
James averaged 34.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists, while shooting 55 percent from the floor in the series against the Pacers.
“I just to try to do whatever it takes to help us win,” James said. “I felt like I wanted to do that again in this series. Just trying to make plays offensively and defensively. Continue to trust my guys and trust myself and trust how much work I put into my game. Definitely, it’s good to be able to make plays and help yourself advance.”
“Kudos and a big shout out to the Indiana Pacers, first of all. They were a tough team.”