NBA

High Mileage, High Performance

Dec 23, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Last night Lebron James completed his second 40+ point game in as many games to force a Game 7 in Oakland. Lebron joined Shaq (2000), MJ (1993), Rick Barry (1967), and Jerry West (1965 and 1969) as the only players to score 40+ points in back-to-back Finals games. The difference is mileage.

Lebron James is older, more experienced, and has much more mileage on his body now than the others did when they enjoyed back-to-back 40 point games in the Finals.

Age NBA Season Reg. Season Minutes Playoff Minutes Total Minutes
Lebron James (2016) 31 13th 38,478 8,336 46,814
Shaquille O'Neal (2000) 27 8th 20,148 3,532 23,680
Michael Jordan (1993) 29 9th 25,842 4,645 30,487
Jerry West (1969) 30 9th 24,220 4,231 28,451
Rick Barry (1967) 22 2nd 6,165 614 6,779

Right now, Lebron has played more minutes than Rick Barry and Jerry West played in their entire careers, more than Jordan did with his two stints with the Bulls, and more than Shaq had by the time he left Miami after his last title. The point is, that by the time most great players have played as many minutes as Lebron, they are Jordan with the Wizards, Shaq with the Celtics, or they are sitting at the broadcast booth or in the front office. They are NOT out dominating the Finals in every aspect. They are not throwing down ridiculous ally-oop jams and leading the Finals in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks, and steals. They should not be embarrassing the league MVP and the most accomplished regular season team ever. Lebron has gotten my brunt for long enough and I cannot deny it any more. The man is super human. He has been able to continue his high level play for longer than anyone I have ever seen not named Karl Malone. In my mind, regardless of the outcome of Game 7, Lebron is the Finals MVP and this should be his second Finals MVP in a row.

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