LeBron James placed a desire for greatness behind an inspirational performance that led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a historic playoff comeback against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday.
The Cavs held a 2-0 lead in the first-round series before tip-off at Bankers Life Fieldhouse but had to fight back from a 25-point half-time deficit – a feat never previously achieved in the postseason – to secure a 119-114 victory.
James played the entire second half and finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, but admitted he found it difficult to immediately take stock of his display and compare it to his other dominant playoff performances.
He said: "I can't even sit up here and say I can [compare]. One thing I do know is that we had a huge half-time deficit and were able to come back and win the game.
"I didn't know it was the biggest comeback or things of that nature. For myself, I just try to put myself in position to help my team-mates win no matter who's on the floor with me. Try to empower them, try to make them better, try to make them believe we can be great every night.
"I just don't settle for being not as great as I can be. It's not going to result in a stat line like this every night. When my mind is fresh and in the moment, sometimes certain things like this happen, so I don't know.
"I can't even really appreciate it. I'll let you guys write your words about it and go from there. Only thing that matters is a win, and that's what I'm here for."
The Cavs' comeback was even more remarkable for the face that Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving did not feature at all in the fourth quarter, with James praising the roles played by Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Deron Williams and Kyle Korver.
"This is why the team was built this way. Our depth has been challenged this year because of injuries, we haven't been able to get a full dosage of what we can become even with the guys on the floor," said James.
"But our bench definitely got the game ball tonight. Channing, Shump, D-Will, Kyle, those guys came in and gave us huge minutes."
Coach Tyronn Lue praised James after he moved past Kobe Bryant for third on the NBA's all-time playoff scoring list and confessed it was difficult to leave Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love out of the final period.
"LeBron willed us home, 41, 12 and 13, played the whole second half. That's what playoff basketball is all about. You got to be willing to sacrifice and lay it on the line to win a game, and that's what he did for us.
"Every decision you make in the playoffs is difficult. Looking at Kyrie and looking at Kevin, they were like: 'Let them go. They're playing well.'
"I had every intention to keep those guys in as long as they were playing well. Kevin and Kyrie didn't [protest]. That's what playoff basketball is all about. Guys step up and play well, and you just root those guys on.
"After the game they [Irving and Love] were happy and said: 'It's not about us, it's about the team.' Not a big deal at all, especially when you come out with the win."
17. Oktober 2017
|He Said What?! The Best NFL quotes of week six|
|Jardim says French champions Monaco down on confidence|
|Mariota returns to lead Titans past Colts|
|Yankees rout Astros to reduce ALCS deficit|
|Hansen defends under-fire Sonny Bill Williams: He is playing well|
|Spurs star Kane an obvious target for Real Madrid – Redknapp|
|I´m done - Gatland quits British and Irish Lions|
|Bosz and Dortmund eyeing much-needed victory as Schmelzer returns|
|Tiger Woods cleared to resume golf activities with no restrictions|
|Szczesny: I didn´t improve at Arsenal due to tactical gulf|
|Spurs coach Popovich calls Trump a ´soulless coward´|
|Bowman signs one-year deal with Raiders|
|Girardi says Yankees star Judge isn´t getting calls ´because he´s so tall´|
|Baldwin feared he could lose hand after lion bite|
|Pochettino wants ´10 or 15 years´ at Tottenham|
|Shakespeare hails Mahrez response after ´kick up the backside´|
|Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to undergo surgery on broken collarbone|
16. Oktober 2017
|NBA Eastern Conference Preview: Can Celtics´ bold moves unseat Cavs?|
|NBA Western Conference Preview: Everyone´s looking up at the Warriors|
|NBA Preview: Five rookies to watch in 2017|
|Cornet breezes past home hope Makarova in Moscow|
|Leicester City 1 West Brom 1: Mahrez cancels out Chadli magic|
|Hamsik not worried by Maradona record ahead of Man City clash|
|Joshua to fight Takam after Pulev pulls out injured|
|History for Babar as Pakistan see off Sri Lanka|
|Man City better than Real Madrid? Sarri daunted by Napoli´s Etihad assignment|
|Donaldson downed in Antwerp, Sela sees off Coric|
|Ashley puts Newcastle United put up for sale|
|Lovren accuses ´nervous´ Lukaku of deliberate kick during Manchester United draw|
|One small step for Ox... Klopp praise for under-fire midfielder|
|Klopp denies Liverpool have lost confidence|
|Manchester ready for goal rush as Spurs visit fortress Bernabeu - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Packers are not done, but must be different with Hundley at helm|
|Police renew appeal for Stokes witnesses|
|Tottenham one of Europe´s best, claims Riedle|
|Watch: Barcelona mark Messi debut with footage of La Masia magic|
|Ronaldo has to win Ballon d´Or, says Isco|
|Guardiola not falling for De Laurentiis´ Napoli script change|
|Rhys Webb out in the cold as Wales scrap ´Gatland´s Law´|
|Button: I wasn´t to Hamilton´s taste as McLaren team-mate|
|Guardiola´s ´genius´ inspiring Sterling at Manchester City|
|He is a complete forward – Zidane an admirer of Kane|
|Bale could miss both Tottenham games, concedes Zidane|
|Wilder: Joshua doesn´t sound too confident|
|Guardiola takes pressure off De Bruyne amid Messi comparisons|
|Sarfraz: Sri Lanka should not have issue over Lahore T20|
|Napoli should rest stars against Manchester City - De Laurentiis|
|Switzerland, Italy, Croatia & Denmark seeded for World Cup play-offs|
|Kessler comeback delayed by Lyme disease|
|Kane takes Real Madrid interest ´very naturally´, says Pochettino|
|Packers coach McCarthy quiets free agent QB talk after Rodgers injury|
|Chelsea struggling to fight on several fronts, Conte concedes|
|Jiangsu Suning confident Capello not Italy-bound|
|Mo´unga called into All Blacks squad for Bledisloe Cup rubber|
|Dodgers take 2-0 NLCS lead over Cubs after walk-off win|
|High-profile injuries continue as Rodgers hurts collarbone|
|Pochettino: Madrid are not the Ronaldo team|
|Boateng considered Bayern exit|
|Nonsense! Critics won´t force Postecoglou out says Socceroos great Moore|
|MLS Review: Sounders, Timbers book play-off spots|
|Kaepernick files collusion grievance against NFL owners|
|Lukaku dismisses suggestions he is a flat-track bully|
|Milan will go along with Montella - Fassone backs boss after derby loss|
|Keselowski avoids Talladega carnage, wins on last-lap pass|
|Valencia win incredible nine-goal thriller at Betis|
|Spalletti hails Inter´s derby hero Icardi as complete striker|
|D´Ambrosio was clever - Milan boss Montella angry at Inter´s winning penalty|
|Tom Brady sets record for regular-season wins with controversial victory|
|Mandanda breaks Marseille appearance record|
15. Oktober 2017
|Inter hero Icardi ´holding on tight´ to derby hat-trick ball|