LeBron James has reached an unprecedented six straight NBA Finals and has a chance to make it seven in the coming weeks, a streak that dates back to his days with the Miami Heat. But it's his dominance in the first round of the NBA Playoffs that might be his most undervalued accomplishment since he's been in the league.
While the Boston Celtics have struggled in the first round, despite stealing the No. 1 seed from the Cavaliers in the final week of the regular season, the Cavaliers -- and specifically, LeBron -- handled their business by completing a sweep of the Pacers in their opening playoff series on Sunday afternoon in Indiana.
LeBron made a statement, one that we should all know by know: He does not lose in the first round. Period.
LeBron has never -- yes, never -- lost a first-round NBA playoff series. He is a perfect 12-0 dating back to 2006 and, via ESPN Stats and Info, LeBron's 21 consecutive wins in the first round are the most for any player since 1984.
That is absurd success in itself. And his 2017 first-round stat line indicates that it's more than just his history of being a part of good teams. That's MVP-caliber production.
"That was a tough team," LeBron said of the Pacers after the Cavs 106-102 win in Indiana. "We knew that coming into the series. They had the coach of the month and they had the player of the month. So we knew we had something to deal with. But we locked in. We locked into our schemes, our coaching staff gave us a great game plan going into every game and we just executed."
They locked in, alright. And LeBron did so in the series finale's biggest moment. Down two points with 1:07 left to play in the fourth quarter, James took control with a deep 28-foot 3-pointer to launch Cleveland into the lead -- one it would never relinquish. And although Cleveland was in jeopardy of losing each game (winning by an average margin of just four points in the sweep), there was never any real doubt about which team would emerge. Playing with fire is dangerous, but you don't get burned often when you've got the world's best player on your side.
Say what you will about his postseason success or how many rings he has at this point in his career, but that sustained level of success is unheard of. Playoff upsets seemingly happen every year in some form or fashion, but to not only make it past the first round every time, but also to pretty much never lose a game while putting up those gaudy numbers? Simply remarkable.
Whether you're a LeBron James fan or not, his greatness is impossible to argue. He proved once again on Sunday afternoon that he owns the first round.