The Top 5 Teams LeBron James Struggles Against

Trent Stutzman@@trentstutzmanContributor IIIOctober 17, 2012

The Top 5 Teams LeBron James Struggles Against

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    Although LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world, even he has struggles against certain foes.

    With 30 franchises in the NBA, not even LeBron can own every single team’s number.

    On Monday, I wrote about the five teams he routinely dominates, a list that actually includes more than just five teams.

    As a sequel to that article, here are the top five teams LeBron struggles against, grabbing from a much smaller list of choices.

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    I bet you weren’t expecting this one, given his demolition of the Cavaliers in his first return to Cleveland after joining the Miami Heat.

    But since that 38-points-in-only-30-minutes masterpiece, LeBron has performed below his normal standards against the Cavs.

    In the six games against Cleveland since then, James has averaged 23.7 points and 3.7 turnovers per contest while shooting 26.3 percent for three-pointers and 69.8 percent on free throws.

    Maybe LeBron wanted to take it easy on the Cavaliers after embarrassing them the first time around.

Detroit Pistons

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    Surprise again!

    LeBron may have had one of the greatest playoff performances ever in Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons, when he scored 48 points, including 29 of the Cavalier’s final 30 points, but besides that game, he has struggled against Detroit.

    In the very next game, he only made three of his 11 field goal attempts en route to a 20-point performance. It was Daniel Gibson’s 31 off the bench that carried Cleveland to victory.

    And in Game 1 of that series, LeBron only scored 10 points.

    In his playoff career, James has shot only 45.9 percent against Detroit.

Dallas Mavericks

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    One playoff series will forever haunt LeBron and drive him to always be his absolute best in the postseason.

    That series, of course, is the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.

    During those six games, that resulted in a loss for LeBron’s Miami Heat, James averaged just three points per fourth quarter.

    He also averaged just 17.8 points per game. His drop-off of 8.9 points per game from the regular season to the Finals is the largest in NBA history.

    I think if the Heat and Mavs somehow meet in the Finals again, LeBron would turn those numbers around.

San Antonio Spurs

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    LeBron’s first appearance in an NBA Finals wasn’t exactly sparkling, either.

    In the 2007 Finals, James’ Cavaliers faced the San Antonio Spurs and one of the best coaches ever in Gregg Popovich. Popovich’s smarts were too much for LeBron to overcome.

    He only averaged 22 points per game on an abysmal 35.6 percent shooting rate while racking up 5.8 turnovers per contest.

    The Spurs easily won the series in a sweep.

    LeBron has also had his struggles in the regular season against San Antonio; it is one of only five teams to hold him to a combined 13.3 rebounds and assists per game or lower while also keeping both of those individual figures under seven.

Los Angeles Clippers

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    He’s never met them in the playoffs, but regular season-wise, nobody has shut down LeBron like the Los Angeles Clippers.

    In 17 career games versus the Clippers, James has averaged just 23.1 points on 41.3 percent shooting. Both of those numbers are career lows against any team.

    His averages of 6.7 assists, 31.7 three-point shooting percentage and 71.8 percent on free throws against Los Angeles are all below his career marks.

    Hopefully the Heat never has to face the Clippers in the Finals, for LeBron’s sake.