For all the criticisms towards his performance when the game is on the line, LeBron James has already amassed a multitude of cardiac late-game or so they call “clutch baskets”. James has evolved into a deadly crunch time performer over the years and rightfully so because of his status as the face of the NBA. We handpicked 10 of his best clutch moments over his entire career, starting with number 10:
10 – March 6, 2013, Miami Heat vs Orlando Magic
In the battle of Florida teams, the Magic almost stole one against the Heat but thanks to LeBron James, Miami escaped with a hard fought victory. James went with the isolation play and drove to the basket with relative ease for the game winner.
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9 – January 30, 2008, Cleveland Cavaliers vs Portland Trail Blazers
LeBron James split the defense of Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland’s two best players then, to convert on a reverse lay-up giving the Cavaliers a one point edge with 0.3 left to win the game. After the bucket, James stared down on some fans and even the Blazers’ bench.
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8 – March 18, 2013, Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics
The Miami Heat visited the Boston Celtics in a game played under a near-playoff atmosphere. The Heat have won 22 in a row and with the game tied in the final seconds, LeBron James took it upon himself and canned a long two over Jeff Green to extend their win streak to 23.
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7 – January 23, 2009, Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors
LeBron James hit his first buzzer-beating game-winner against the Warriors in Oakland. He did it through a textbook step back jumper against Ronny Turiaf, clearly separating himself from the Warriors center.
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6 – February 12, 2014, Miami Heat vs Golden State Warriors
“Better offense beats better defense every time.” Those were the words from LeBron James after leading the Heat to victory over the Warriors. James went one-on-one against one of the league’s best defenders in Andre Iguodala and hit a difficult step back three while fading away from 27-feet.
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5 – May 22, 2013, Game 1 Eastern Conference Finals vs Indiana Pacers
LeBron James opened the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals in a huge way by handing defeat to a fighting Indiana Pacers squad via a game winning lay-up. James had to shook off Paul George to eventually find himself alone in the paint, surprisingly, for an uncontested lefty lay-in.
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4 – April 28, 2006, Game 3, Eastern Conference 1st Round vs Washington Wizards
LeBron James exchanged go-ahead baskets with a hot shooting Gilbert Arenas in the closing seconds of their playoff game against the Wizards, in Washington, to give the Cavaliers a 2-1 series lead. It was also LeBron’s first playoff game winner.
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3 – May 3, 2006, Game 5, Eastern Conference 1st Round vs Washington Wizards
LeBron James tippy-toed to the baseline for a game winning drive to the basket in Game 5 of the Cavs’ first round series against Washington. James eluded 3 hapless defenders to nail his first home-game winner in the playoffs.
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2 – March 22, 2009, Game 2, Eastern Conference Finals vs Orlando Magic
With one second left in Game 2 of the 2009 East Finals, LeBron James shook off Hedo Turkoglu as he received an inbound pass from Mo Williams right at the top of the arc to splash a game winner against the Magic. After sweeping the first two rounds, the Cavaliers found their kryptonite in the Magic but LeBron also found a way to carry his team to bounce back in the second game.
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1 – May 31, 2007, Game 5, Eastern Conference Finals vs Detroit Pistons
This isn’t just about a single clutch shot. This is an aggregate of a number of clutch moments in LeBron James’ classic performance against rival Detroit Pistons. He was simply in God mode during that stretch where he scored the Cavaliers’ final 25 points and that performance went down as one of the all-time best playoff moments in NBA history.