LeBron James scored a career playoff-high 48 points on this date in 2007 to carry the Cleveland Cavaliers to within one game of the NBA Finals for the first time with a 109-107 double-overtime win over the Detroit Pistons.
James, 22, scored 29 of the Cavaliers’ final 30 points in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, including the last 25, becoming the first player to score that many in a row for a team in the playoffs. He forced the first overtime on a dunk with nine seconds left, then closed out the second extra period on a driving layup past the Pistons’ Richard Hamilton with 2.2 seconds to go.
It was one of the many driving shots that James made look easy.
“Why should I be surprised? I was making a lot of great moves,” James said. “They are definitely a great defensive team, but I was determined to attack.”
The Dodgers were scheduled to conclude a three-game series Sunday in New York against the Mets. The Angels would have finished up a three-game series with the New York Yankees at Angel Stadium. Both games were postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here is a look at other memorable games and outstanding sports performances on May 31:
1927 — Detroit first baseman Johnny Neun records an unassisted triple play in the ninth inning to give the Tigers a 1-0 win over the Cleveland Indians at Navin Field in Detroit. Neun snags a line drive off the bat of Homer Summa, tags Charlie Jamieson out at first and then beats Glenn Myatt, who was rounding third base, back to second for the third out.
1938 — Henry Armstrong, a featherweight division fighter, beats a heavier Barney Ross for the world welterweight title at Madison Square Garden in New York. Armstrong uses a rapid barrage of punches throughout the bout that overwhelms Ross and wins a unanimous 15-round decision.
1949 — Sam Snead wins the PGA Championship, defeating Johnny Palmer in the final round of match play 3 and 2 at Heritage Country Club in Richmond, Va. The victory is the second of Snead’s three PGA Championships and the fourth of his seven major titles. Palmer qualifies for the finals by defeating Lloyd Mangrum 6 and 5.
1965 — Scotland’s Jim Clark takes open-wheel racing into a new era when he drives a rear-engine Lotus-Ford to victory in the Indianapolis 500, the first non-U.S. driver in 49 years to win the race. Clark chooses to skip the Monaco Grand Prix in favor of Indianapolis, and becomes the only driver in history to win the Indy 500 and Formula One world championship in the same year.
1983 — Led by Moses Malone, Andrew Toney and Julius Erving, the Philadelphia 76ers win their second NBA championship with a 115-108 victory over the Lakers, completing a four-game sweep. Malone averages more than 25 points and 18 rebounds for the series and is awarded MVP honors.
1992 — Ayrton Senna wins his fourth consecutive Monaco Grand Prix to end Nigel Mansell’s season-opening winning streak at five races. Senna, driving a McLaren-Honda, takes the lead on Lap 71 when Mansell has to pit for new tires. The Brazilian holds off Mansell’s late charge to win by 0.2 seconds, his fifth win at Monaco to equal the record set by Graham Hill.
1997 — Ila Borders is the first woman to pitch in a regular-season professional baseball game, in the sixth inning of a Northern League contest between St. Paul and Sioux Falls. Borders enters in relief for the Saints, and gives up three earned runs without getting an out.
2008 — Jamaica’s Usain Bolt sets the world record in the 100 meters with a time of 9.72 seconds at the Reebok Grand Prix meet in New York. Bolt is .02 seconds faster than the record held by countryman Asafa Powell. At 50 meters, Bolt creates a gap between Tyson Gay, America’s best sprinter, who finishes at 9.85.
2009 — Rafael Nadal’s unbeaten run at the French Open ends when the four-time defending champion loses to Robin Soderling of Sweden 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the fourth round. Nadal’s record winning streak at Paris’ Roland Garros Stadium ends at 31 matches.
Sources: The Times, Associated Press