LeBron James: An NBA Finals history

The 2017-18 NBA Finals ended a few days ago with the Golden State Warriors sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers. While this Finals saw a lot of historical notes, it was the eighth consecutive one that LeBron James played in, an accomplishment only matched by several 1960s Boston Celtics players. With that in mind, let’s take a look back at how LeBron has performed over the 49 Finals games he has played in across nine series.

Minutes played

LeBron James has played at least 40 minutes in 40/49 (81.63%) of NBA Finals games that he has played in. His most minutes played in a Finals games was when he logged 50:20 in the Cavs game two win in 2015.

Minutes

Points

LeBron has scored at least 30 points in 21 (42.85%) Finals games and at least 20 points in 41 (83.67%) of them. His best performance came this past Finals, where he dropped 51 points in game one, while his worst showing was in game four back in 2011 when he only managed 8 points.

Points

Rebounds and Assists

LeBron has nabbed at least 10 rebounds in 26 (53.06%) Finals games. He has gotten 18 rebounds twice, in game one in 2013 and game six of the 2015 Finals. The only times he managed less then five rebounds was in game three and game six of the 2011 Finals.

Rebounds

LeBron has dished out at least 10 assists in 14 (28.57%) Finals games. His best dime dropping was in game two of the 2017 Finals when he had 14, while his worst performance was in game four of the 2014 Finals when he only managed two.

Assists

Steals, Blocks, and Turnovers

LeBron has had at least one steal in 37 (75.51%) of the Finals games he’s played in. His best performance was when he had five against the Spurs in the Heat’s game three loss in 2014.

Steals

LeBron has swatted at least one shot in 26 (53.06%) of NBA Finals games he has played in. From game seven in 2013 to game four in 2014 he had a five-game drought in the Finals without a block. LeBron recorded three blocks in game two in 2013 and four straight games to close out the 2016 series against the Warriors.

Blocks

LeBron has had 15 (30.61%) Finals games with two or fewer turnovers. He has had five games with only one, while his worst showing was the eight he had in game one of the 2017 Finals.

Turnovers

Shots taken and shooting percentages

LeBron has taken at least 30 shots in a Finals game nine times, five of which came in the 2015 Finals against the Warriors. The 19 shots he made in game one of this year’s Finals tied 2017’s game five for the most he has made. He has shot at least 50% from the field 21 times in the Finals and shot under 40% 10 times.

Field Goals

Field Goal %

LeBron made a Finals high five three-pointers in game seven of the 2013 Finals. He has also had seven games where he did not make a single one. The only time he has shot 100% from three was in game two of the 2014 Finals when he went 3-3.

3 Pointers

3P%

LeBron’s high in free throws made and attempted came in game two of the 2015 Finals when he went 14-18 from the line. His best showing was in game two of the 2012 Finals when he went a perfect 12-12. In game three of the 2013 Finals, he did not attempt a single free-throw.

Free Throws

Free Throw %

Plus/Minus

In LeBron’s 49 NBA Finals games, he has had a positive plus/minus in 19 (38.77%) of them and a negative plus/minus in 28 (57.14%) of them. He has also had a plus/minus of zero twice. His best plus/minus was +32 in game four of the 2017 Finals, while his worst was -32 in game three of the 2013 Finals.

Plus Minus

Total averages for each series

Below are LeBron’s per game averages for each NBA Finals series that he has played in. The table after that show how many double-doubles and triple-doubles he recorded in each series.

Series Result MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO
07 Spurs 0-4 42.5 22.0 7.0 6.8 1.0 0.5 5.8
11 Mavs 2-4 43.7 17.8 7.2 6.8 1.7 0.5 4.0
12 OKC 4-1 44.0 28.6 10.2 7.4 1.6 0.4 3.8
13 Spurs 4-3 43.1 25.3 10.9 7.0 2.3 0.9 2.6
14 Spurs 1-4 38.0 28.2 7.8 4.0 2.0 0.4 3.8
15 GSW 2-4 45.8 35.8 13.3 8.8 1.3 0.5 3.5
16 GSW 4-3 42.0 29.7 11.3 8.9 2.6 2.3 4.4
17 GSW 1-4 42.4 33.6 12.0 10 1.4 1.0 4.2
18 GSW 0-4 45.0 34.0 8.5 10 1.3 1.0 5.0
Series Field Goals (%) Three-Pointers (%) Free Throws (%)
07 Spurs 8.0-22.5 (35.6%) 1.0-5.0 (20.0%) 5.0-7.3 (69.0%)
11 Mavs 7.2-15 (47.8%) 1.5-4.7 (32.1%) 2.0-3.3 (60.0%)
12 OKC 10.2-21.6 (47.2%) 0.6-3.2 (18.8%) 7.6-9.2 (82.6%)
13 Spurs 9.6-21.4 (44.7%) 1.7-4.9 (35.3%) 4.4-5.6 (79.5%)
14 Spurs 10.4-18.2 (57.1%) 2.8-5.4 (51.9%) 4.6-5.8 (79.3%)
15 GSW 13.0-32.7 (39.8%) 2.2-7.0 (31.0%) 7.7-11.2 (68.7%)
16 GSW 11.7-23.7 (49.4%) 1.9-5.0 (37.1%) 4.4-6.1 (72.1%)
17 GSW 13.2-23.4 (56.4%) 2.4-6.2 (38.7%) 4.8-7.4 (64.9%)
18 GSW 12.3-23.3 (52.7%) 1.5-4.5 (33.3%) 8.0-9.5 (84.2%)
NBA Finals Series Double-Double Triple-Double
07 Spurs 1 0
11 Mavs 0 1
12 OKC 2 1
13 Spurs 3 2
14 Spurs 2 0
15 GSW 3 2
16 GSW 5 1
17 GSW 3 2
18 GSW 1 1

As I mentioned in my article looking back on the 2017-18 NBA Finals, LeBron’s 51-point performance was only the sixth in history during the Finals. This performance gave LeBron his seventh 40 plus point game in the Finals, only behind Jerry West who has ten.

In the 49 NBA Finals games, Lebron James has played in his teams have an 18-32 record and a 3-6 series record. He has recorded 21 double-doubles and an NBA Finals record 10 triple-doubles.

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Sources and Info: (All sources not listed here linked/mentioned in the article)

Featured Image: “LeBron James” by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jamesle01.html (Used game log to note stats from each Finals game he played in)

http://www.espn.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/1966/year/2007/lebron-james (Used to get LeBron’s averages for each Finals series)

All table and graphs made using Google Spreadsheet

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