Even with his triple-double Thursday, LeBron James did not surpass his most significant playoff performance with Heat

The Miami Heat’s LeBron James gestures on the court against the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

LeBron James has had many memorable games in his 202-game postseason career, several of them coming as a member of the Miami Heat.

But did his transcendent performance in Cleveland’s come-from-behind victory at Indiana on Thursday surpass his best ever playoff game with the Heat?

James finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists and two blocks as the Cavaliers erased a 25-point halftime deficit for a 119-114 to take a 3-0 lead in the series. James scored or assisted on 73 points, the most in a playoff game of his career, while posting his 17th postseason triple-double.

James had two similar performances that standout during his four years in Miami.

In Game 4 of the 2012 conference semifinals James had 40 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists in a 101-93 win at Indiana (the Pacers must be getting tired of this). He shot 14-of-27. The game was significant in that the Heat trailed 2-1 in the series and were without Chris Bosh, who missed most of the series with an abdominal injury.

But his most significant postseason performance came nearly three weeks later, in Game 6 of the 2012 conference finals. The Heat were facing elimination heading back to Boston and a loss would have quickly turned the narrative on the Big Three era, which would have failed in two postseason attempts without even reaching the Finals the second year.

But James submitted the biggest and most clutch performance of his Heat career with 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in the 98-79 win. He was 19-of-26 from the floor and had a plus/minus of plus 22. The Heat won Game 7 at home and then defeated the Thunder in five games for the first title of the Big Three era. James led Heat in scoring in all seven Boston games and all five OKC games.

James’ performance Thursday was historic in that the 25-halftime deficit is the largest overcome in postseason history. But, let’s face it, win or lose on Thursday, the Cavaliers are winning this series. That is something that could not have been said about the Heat had they lost Game 6 in Boston in 2012.

In the end, many may point to three games that directly led to titles. James had 37 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists in Miami’s Game 7 win over San Antonio in the 2013 Finals and back-to-back 41-point performances in Games 6 and 7 of last year’s Finals with the Cavs facing elimination in both. He added 16 rebounds, 7 assists in Game 6 and 8 rebounds, 11 assists in Game 7.

But when it comes to the best individual performance in a significant moment, nothing tops the 2012 Game 6 in Boston for LeBron.

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