LeBron James in Game 6: Record, elimination games and defining moments

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(Getty Images)

The Lakers are on the brink of elimination in the Western Conference playoffs.

Fortunately for Los Angeles, LeBron James has a favorable track record in Game 6s. The Lakers will put that record to the test Thursday at 10:30 p.m. against the Suns.

How good is James in the sixth game of a series? He has several memorable Game 6 performances that have defined his career, but there are a few lowlights mixed in. Will this be one of those moments? Will it set up another Game 7 for James? 

MORE: Frank Vogel explains why LeBron James left bench before Game 5 ended

Sporting News digs into James' Game 6 track record to find out.

What is LeBron James' record in Game 6? 

James' teams are 15-6 in Game 6 situations. He is 9-2 when his team is up 3-2 and 6-4 when his team is down 3-2. 

This marks the second Game 6 with the Lakers. Here is a look at how James' teams have fared in Game 6 and how that affected each series.

James' teams in Game 6

RESULT NUMBER OF TIMES 
Won up 3-2, closed series 9
Won down 3-2, won Game 7 5
Lost down 3-2, eliminated 4
Lost up 3-2, lost Game 7 1
Lost up 3-2, won Game 7 1
Won down 3-2, lost Game 7 1

James' teams have won 11 of the past 12 playoff series that reached Game 6. James averaged 29.2 points per game with 10.1 rebounds and eight assists in those 21 games.

It is worth knowing that this is the first time in James' career when he is playing in a Game 6 in the first round down 3-2.

James' record facing elimination in Game 6

James' teams are 6-4 in Game 6 when facing elimination, and they have split those 10 series. James led Cleveland to a win against Boston in Game 6 in the 2008 playoffs, but the Cavaliers lost Game 7.

The other nine series have gone to the winner of Game 6. That's what makes Thursday's game against the Suns intriguing. Here is a look at those Game 6 matchups when James' teams were facing elimination.

DATE ROUND OPPONENT RESULT SERIES
2008 Semifinals vs. Boston W 74-69 Lost 4-3
2009 Conf. finals at Orlando L 103-90 Lost 4-2
2010 Semifinals at Boston L 94-85 Lost 4-2
2011 NBA Finals vs. Dallas L 105-95 Lost 4-2
2012 Conf. finals at Boston W 98-79 Won 4-3
2013 Conf. finals at Indiana W 91-77 Won 4-3
2013 NBA Finals vs. San Antonio W 103-100 Won 4-3
2015 NBA Finals vs. Golden State L 105-97 Lost 4-2
2016 NBA Finals vs. Golden State W 115-101 Won 4-3
2018 Conf. finals vs. Boston W 109-99 Won 4-3

James' teams have won five of the past six in this situation, with the lone loss coming to the Warriors in the 2015 NBA Finals. James averages 33 points, 11.1 rebounds and eight assists in those games. 

LeBron James' memorable Game 6 wins

Here is a look at James' performances in Game 6 wins in which his teams trailed 3-2. James' teams ended up winning all of these series.

Miami 98, Boston 79 (June 7, 2012)

James flipped the Eastern Conference finals series against the Celtics with 45 points and 15 rebounds at TD Garden. It's a performance that helped flip the narrative about whether he could win a big game. The Heat went on to win the NBA Finals for James' first championship.

Miami 91, Indiana 77 (June 1, 2013)

James helped turn a 3-2 Eastern Conference finals series in the Heat's favor with 29 points, seven rebounds and six assists on the road against Indiana. The Heat would advance to the NBA Finals to face the Spurs.

Miami 103, San Antonio 100 (June 18, 2013)

Ray Allen hit the game-saving 3-pointers, which overshadowed James' triple-double of 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. The Heat would cap off back-to-back championships with a victory in Game 7.

Cleveland 115, Golden State 101 (June 16, 2016)

The Cavaliers tied the 2016 NBA Finals with a blowout win at home in which James scored 41 points with 11 assists and eight rebounds. Cleveland completed the 3-1 comeback with a victory in Game 7.

Cleveland 109, Boston 99 (May 25, 2018)

The Cavaliers rallied in the Eastern Conference finals with another monster performance from James, who had 46 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. James also hit five of seven 3-pointers, and Cleveland won Game 7 in Boston to advance to the NBA Finals.

LeBron James' memorable Game 6 losses

Orlando 103, Cleveland 90 (May 30, 2009)

The Magic eliminated the Cavaliers from the Eastern Conference finals in six games. Dwight Howard led Orlando with 40 points and 14 rebounds. James finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Boston 94, Cleveland 85 (May 13, 2010)

This was James' last game in his first stint with Cleveland. He finished with 27 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists in the Eastern Conference semifinals loss, but everyone remembers James ripping off his jersey in the tunnel. That prefaced "The Decision" later that summer.

Dallas 105, Miami 95 (June 12, 2011)

James' first NBA Finals appearance with the Heat did not go as planned. The Mavericks spoiled that run and eliminated Miami in Game 6. Dirk Nowitzki matched James with 21 points, but Jason Terry stole the show with 27 points in the victory.

Golden State 105, Cleveland 97 (June 16, 2015)

The Warriors closed out the Cavaliers in the first of four consecutive NBA Finals matchups between the teams. James had 32 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists in the loss.

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