As LeBron James goes, so do the Miami Heat. If LeBron has a bad day in Game 6 of the NBA Finals Tuesday, Miami will more than likely watch the San Antonio Spurs celebrate a championship in South Beach.
James hasn’t been at his best when his team’s back is against the wall. During his career – with Miami and Cleveland – LeBron has played in 11 playoff games with his team facing elimination. He’s won five of those with a 7-4 ATS record in those knockout contests.
Miami, which trails San Antonio 3-2 in the finals, is set as a 7-point home favorite with the total at 190.5 for Game 6 Tuesday.
In those 11 do-or-die games, James averages 32.75 points, which is almost five points higher than his career postseason scoring average (28.0 ppg). His shooting percentages in those elimination games, however, has been lower than the norm.
James has shot 46.64 percent (116 for 250) from the field, 29 percent from the 3-point arc (16 for 55) and 72 percent from the foul line (98 for 136) in those 11 games, all of which are under his career postseason averages (FG: 47%, 3PT: 32%, FT: 74.7%).
He’s played in two finals games facing elimination, scoring 21 points on 9-for-15 shooting in Game 6 versus the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 and 24 points on 10-for-30 shooting in a Game 4 loss to San Antonio in 2007.
"The King" has performed better in elimination games in the past two seasons. After shooting just 43 percent from the field, 27 percent from beyond the arc, and 70 percent from the charity stripe in the first eight knockout games of his playoff career, LeBron is averaging 36 points on 56 percent shooting the last three times the Heat were facing elimination, including 32 points on 8-for-17 shooting versus the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 this postseason.
James is averaging 25.1 points on 49.3 percent shooting during this current playoff run but only 21.6 points per game on 43.6 percent shooting versus the Spurs in The Finals. He has scored 25 and 33 points respectively in the last two games after putting up 18, 17, 15 in the first three contests. In his three seasons with Miami, the Heat are 22-18-1 ATS and 16-23-2 over/under when James scores less than 20 points.
The Heat are currently -130 favorites to win the NBA title (San Antonio +110) with the next two games scheduled in Miami. James is a -110 favorite to win NBA Finals MVP.