King James vs PG13 Part 4


We all remember the two remarkable Eastern Conference Finals series between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers, better yet who could forget the dual between 4x All-Star Paul George & 4x MVP LeBron James? These two stars have a lot of experience when it comes to the postseason, so much that they’ve played a total of 19 postseason games against one another. To put that into perspective, that’s more playoff games than Isaiah Thomas and Giannis Antetokounmpo have played combined in their entire careers. With the 3 postseason meetings that King James and PG13 have had, the newest one always ends up more exciting than the last.

Part 1

The first battle between these two superstars was actually before Paul George was even a superstar. LeBron James was on the road to his first NBA Championship in 2012, coming off of his 3rd MVP award. George was a 21 year old NBA sophomore who just began to find his groove in the NBA. The leader of that Pacers team was still Danny Granger, which didn’t last long after this series. In this Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup, King James put up three 30+ point games to put up a series average of 30.0 PPG 10.8 RPG 6.2 APG & 50% FG. George was no match for James, as he was Indiana’s 5th leading scorer in the series (10.0 PPG) where he watched his team lose 3 straight games to end the series in 6 games.

Part 2

The next season, where Pacers team leader Danny Granger only played 5 games due to patellar tendinosis; Paul George stepped up and became the head honcho in Indiana. After earning his first All-Star appearance, he and the Pacers became the best defensive team in the NBA as they knocked off the Atlanta Hawks & New York Knicks, both in 6 games. The LeBron James led Heat would only lose 1 playoff game prior to this Eastern Conference Finals matchup. The Heat were one of the best offensive teams in the NBA and the Pacers had just came off of two series where their opponents averaged less than 90 points per game. LeBron James had another historic series that included four 30+ point games, along with a game 1 ending buzzer beater. Paul George was able to bring the series to 7 games (19.4 PPG) just before LeBron and the future back-to-back champions, Miami Heat blew them out by 23 to eliminate Indiana once again.

Part 3

Now where things got the most interesting, in 2014 where there was ear-blowing, face-slapping and flagrant fouls, it was the third consecutive meeting in the playoffs between these teams and a classic playoff series was brewing. The Indiana Pacers were the number 1 seed in the East with revenge on their mind. Paul George would make a statement by dropping 24 points in an 11-point game 1 victory to take their first lead of the series. Unfortunately for George, that would be their only lead of the series, as King James would shoot 58% FG in the next three games combined while averaging 27 PPG to win 3 straight in the series. After taking a commanding lead, Paul George was able to sneak out a game 5 win with a huge 37 point night while LeBron James (24 minutes) was in foul trouble. With nothing but heart left in the series, Paul George did all he could to beat the highly efficient Miami Heat, by posting 29 point and 8 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as LeBron James 8-12 FG shooting gave Miami a 117-92 point victory to go to his fourth straight NBA Finals.

Part 4

With extremely different circumstances and teammates, the Indiana Pacers have struggled to make the playoffs the last 2 seasons. They have a whole entire new core with Jeff Teague and Myles Turner alongside Paul George. LeBron James is in the same situation as he has been for the past 6 seasons, just with a different franchise and a younger team. LeBron James is chasing his second back-to-back titles, even with the Cavaliers recent struggles (4 game losing streak). James is having one of his best seasons with career highs in rebounds (8.6) and assists (8.7) per game, but has been overshadowed from the historic play of Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Paul George is averaging a career high in points per game (23.7) and field goal percentage (46%), with these two superstars playing some of the best basketball of their careers, this first round matchup could be played with the intensity of an Eastern Conference Finals. George and James will be at the top of their games and LeBron is still undefeated in first round playoff series. It’s highly unlikely that the defending champs will lose this series or even let it go to 6 games, but the Pacers just got their secret weapon back in Lance Stephenson, who’s already made his presence known in Indiana. Will we see more ear-blowing? Hopefully not, but we will have an exciting first round matchup in our hands between highly respected rivals, with the newest edition of the LeBron James vs Paul George battle.

Game 1 (4/15): Indiana @ Cleveland , 3 PM ET, ABC

Game 2 (4/17): Indiana @ Cleveland, 7 PM ET, TNT

Game 3 (4/20): Cleveland @ Indiana, 7 PM ET, TNT

Game 4 (4/23): Cleveland @ Indiana, 1 PM ET, ABC

Game 5 (4/25, if nec.): Indiana @ Cleveland, TBA, TBA

Game 6 (4/27, if nec.): Cleveland @ Indiana, TBA, TBA

Game 7 (4/29, if nec.): Indiana @ Cleveland, TBA, TBA

About Juwan M. Davis

Editor/Writer for NBALEAD. Born and raised in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Living in Los Angeles. Minnesota Timberwolves fan. Twitter: @JuwanMalikDavis

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