And it begs us to start asking the question, which four year streak to the Finals is more impressive: 2011-2014 with the Miami Heat or 2015-2018 with the Cleveland Cavaliers?
Let’s break it down a little bit below and then talk about it.
2014 Miami Heat
Round 1: WON 4-0 vs Charlotte Bobcats (43-39)
Round 2: WON 4-1 vs Brooklyn Nets (44-38)
Round 3: WON 4-2 vs Indiana Pacers (56-26)
Finals: LOST 4-1 vs San Antonio Spurs (62-20)
2017 Cleveland Cavaliers
Round 1: WON 4-0 vs Indiana Pacers (42-40)
Round 2: WON 4-0 vs Toronto Raptors (51-31)
Round 3: WON 4-1 vs Boston Celtics (53-29)
Finals: LOST 4-1 vs Golden State Warriors (67-15)
2018 Cleveland Cavaliers
Round 1: WON 4-3 vs Indiana Pacers (48-34)
Round 2: WON 4-0 vs Toronto Raptors (59-23)
Round 3: WON 4-3 vs Boston Celtics (55-27)
Now, it’s important to note we are just looking at his road to the Finals here, and not the Finals opponent or the outcome. He’s 8-0 total in the East during this stretch on making the Finals.
Besides noticing that LeBron has been tormenting the same franchises for some years you can see the paths. So which journey was harder?
We have to look at the quality of opponents. Let’s talk about his Miami run first.
LeBron and the Heat
They had to overcome the monster in front of them and that was the Boston Celtics who had went to the Finals two the previous three seasons (2008 and 2010) but had eliminated LeBron James from the postseason. And the way the Heat beat the Celtics was impressive. That same season they beat the 2011 MVP Derrick Rose.
The following year, they had to beat the Pacers basically without Chris Bosh who got injured. Then they had an epic 7 game battle again against the Celtics — this included the Game 6 look. After that, the Heat probably had their easiest route besides a 7 game battle against a tough Pacers team.
And then finally they again had to beat Pierce and Garnett, this time with the Nets before again getting over a good Pacers team. The quality of opponents were a good mix of a veteran team with experience like the Celtics and a get at you up and comer like the Pacers.
LeBron and the Cavaliers
One of the major difference with LeBron since he left Miami was that there weren’t any veteran been there teams in their way. Atlanta was a good veteran team but they had only made one conference final. The Raptors were good teams but didn’t give a fight. In fact, until this year, LeBron hadn’t been pushed to a game 7.
I will say that LeBron’s Cavs opponents had good records. And maybe the road was not as tough because LeBron has continually gotten better and made things easier. Maybe the more impressive aspect of it all is how easy he has made it look, up until this season — when he has had less help.
But if you were to ask me, I would say the road with Miami was more difficult in the East than his time with the Cavaliers — and thus makes it more impressive.
What do you think?
Which of LeBron’s teams had a more impressive 4-year stretch in the East playoffs?
This poll is closed