Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game 4

LeBron James passes Michael Jordan in playoff counting stat

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LeBron James slammed a highlight dunk, scored 32 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished five assists.

All in all, the Heat’s Game 4 win over the Pacers was a pretty ho-hum outing for LeBron.

And that’s absolutely ridiculous.

Games like this shouldn’t be routine. Thanks to LeBron, they seem like they are.

In the last six years, LeBron has hit 32-10-5 in the playoffs more than the rest of the NBA combined (12 times to 11). Rejigger the point-rebound-assist numbers a little, and LeBron took the all-time lead last night.

Is LeBron the greatest player ever?

No. Not yet. He just hasn’t played long enough to deserve it. Being the greatest player ever requires both an incredible peak — check — and a lengthy run of being at least very good. LeBron doesn’t quite have the latter yet.

But he’s getting there. LeBron will retire as the greatest player of all time, and the more he passes Jordan in counting stats, the more difficult that will be to deny.

For now, though, Jordan retains his title.

The cutoffs were set to give LeBron the edge. Make it 30-5-5 games, and Jordan holds the lead. Jordan was arguably better in his 25-5-5 playoff games than LeBron was in his:

  • LeBron: 32.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 7.4 assists
  • Jordan: 35.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists

On the other hand, LeBron has hit 25-5-5 in nearly half his playoff games. Nobody else on that list comes close:

  • LeBron James: 49%
  • Michael Jordan: 41%
  • Larry Bird: 32%
  • Kobe Bryant: 24%
  • Jerry West: 30%

At some point, LeBron will decline and his percentage will fall as he adds more postseason games to the sample that don’t occur during his prime. But that day is still a ways off.

In the meantime, LeBron is just beginning his run of beating Jordan’s career records.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: