LeBron “The Magician” James will be the new nickname of the former two-time NBA MVP award winner and will supplant King James as his moniker if he continues his disappearing acts in the fourth quarter of NBA Finals games. When LeBron James brought his talents to South Beach, many assumed multiple titles would follow, including LeBron himself, who talked about winning numerous titles.
With LeBron James and the Miami Heat’s backs against the wall, down 3-2 to the Dallas Mavericks headed back to South Beach for game six, his performance for the rest of the 2011 NBA Finals will forever effect his legacy. If LeBron doesn’t rediscover his scoring touch in the fourth quarter and the Miami Heat lose, this will be a series that will follow him forever.
If, however, he is able to regain his fourth quarter scoring touch, or the Miami Heat win games six and seven to win an NBA championship, all should be forgiven. One thing is for sure: The Michael Jordan comparisons need to stop immediately, and Scottie Pippen and all those who agreed with him should realize that now.
In nine career games in the NBA Finals, which include the five games of the 2011 NBA Finals and four games against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2007 NBA Finals, LeBron James is averaging 19.3 points per game, well below his career regular season average of 27.7 points and his career playoff average of 28.1 points.
The most puzzling thing about the fourth-quarter performances of LeBron James is how different they are from his play in the fourth quarters during the month of May against the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls. In the final games against the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics, both game fives, LeBron James scored 11 points and 13 points, respectively, in the fourth quarter. In five games against the Dallas Mavericks, LeBron James has scored 11 points combined in the fourth quarters of five games. During his best scoring post season, LeBron James averaged 35.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 7.3 assists in the 2009 NBA Playoffs. In the 2011 NBA Playoffs, he is averaging a career-low 23.8 points, and that number is lowering by the game.
The Miami Heat have experienced a tumultuous season of ups and downs in the first season of the Big Three on South Beach, but there is still room for one last up that would end in the team being NBA Champions. For this to happen, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James must all play at high levels. With two victories, The Decision, CryGate, LeBron’s 8-point game, and all of the other low points of the season will be erased and replaced with joyous celebration. However, with one more loss, even more scrutiny will fall upon LeBron James.
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