Of course, the 35-year-old has been in plenty of high-stakes battles during his storied career. This is his 10th Finals appearance, and he knows better than most how quickly a team can lose its grip on a lead.
"The best teacher in life is experience," James told reporters postgame on Wednesday. "I've experienced moments in my career, Finals games, where you have all the momentum in the world, and you felt like you had the game under control, and one play here or one play there could change the course of a series or change the course of a game.
"One in particular that always rings home for me is Game 2 of the 2011 Finals in Miami versus Dallas. (Dwyane Wade) hits the three right by their bench. I believe it put us up either 13 or 17. From that moment on, Dallas went on a hell of a run and finished it off with a Dirk Nowitzki left-hand layup to steal that game. That shit burns me to this day."
Back in James' first of four seasons playing with the Heat from 2010 to 2014, he led a superteam alongside Wade and Chris Bosh that was widely expected to beat Nowitzki's solid but less flashy Dallas Mavericks squad. And just like with James' present-day Lakers, his Miami club took the series opener.
But the Mavericks refused to roll over, winning Game 2. After splitting Games 3 and 4 to pull the series even at 2-2, Dallas won out, capturing the first title in franchise history. From Game 3 onward, James averaged a paltry 15.8 points on 44.1% shooting and just 18.8% on threes, squandering the opportunity to collect his first career championship.
The Lakers will look to avoid a similar fate beginning in Game 2, which is slated for Friday at 9 p.m. ET.