Top twenty? Top ten? Top three?
A bunch of ESPN experts debated where last night's performance ranks on the all-time list.
My gut is that if it had been in an elimination game, or in the Finals, it would have been way up there near the top.
But you have to give credit to those who did similarly amazing things when stakes were even higher.
But I sure like Marc Stein's answer. He said that "On one hand, I can't put it higher than the 18-to-20 range if we're using the nba.com list as a guide, because LeBron's eruption didn't happen in the Finals and doesn't automatically trump the other non-Finals moments in that top 20. On the other hand, I might be totally crazy. It was TWENTY-FIVE POINTS IN A ROW in crunch time ... from a 22-year-old ... in a game that all but put his team of no-names in the Finals. Can I get back to you?"
Chris Broussard has seen enough. He believes: "The future is Bron's, as he'll render Wade, Bosh, Melo, D-Howard, Oden and the rest of his generation's greats to second-tier status, just as Jordan did to Barkley, Ewing, Malone, Olajuwon and the rest of his peers."
They're doing a similar exercise at the Fanhouse, too, where several writers vote this among the very best ever. The reasons include the reality that rival performances were from players on great rosters, and the fact that the Cavaliers were underdogs playing on the road.
A cautionary tale from TrueHoop reader Alex, who reminds us that it was not that long ago Dirk Nowitzki was celebrated for one of the great playoff performances of all time. Take away message: keep it up LeBron. One is not a legacy. (UPDATE: SI.com's Kelly Dwyer on Dirk Nowitzki last year.)
While we're at it, I just got this cool chart, which is very handy to counter those who say LeBron James shoots too many three-pointers and doesn't go to the hole enough (in case you can't read it, that's 8-14 in the paint):