The King, On and Off His Court
By The Elias Sports Bureau
Who would have guessed it, but the primary focus in each of the first two games of The Finals has been a little-known fellow named LeBron James. Consider all that he has done over the first two games of the series -- in no particular order, scoring, rebounding, driving to the hoop, outside shooting, defending, playmaking, and, yes, cramping. But even though James has likely been the most important player in every game of basketball that he has played since -- well, is "for all eternity" an overstatement? -- we're nothing short of amazed by the difference that his presence on or off the court has meant for the Heat through the first 96 minutes of the 2014 Finals.
The scoring data, for each team, game-by-game, with two-game totals:
|JAMES ON COURT||JAMES OFF COURT|
|Game 2||37:36||82-71||+11||10:24||16-25||- 9|
On a per-48-minutes basis, the Heat has outscored the Spurs, 101.5 to 94.0, while James has been on the floor. But with James off the court, again prorated over 48 minutes, the Spurs have outscored the Heat, 127.9 to 82.8. Yes, those figures have been proofread: they are indeed correct. So during the first two games of The Finals, LeBron's presence or absence on the court has determined a swing of 52.6 points per 48 minutes (from plus-7.5 per 48 minutes when he's playing, to minus-45.1 per 48 when he has been out). And if you're wondering, yes, that has been the widest such swing, by far, for anyone who has played at least two minutes in the Finals:
And the King has been at his best during those periods when fellow Big Three members Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have both been on the bench. In 18:12 of playing time when James was playing as a "Big One," with Wade and Bosh out of the game, the Heat has outscored the Spurs, 39-25, which translates to a 102.9 to 65.9 advantage over 48 minutes.