Miami Heat's LeBron James
In each playoff run, the expectations of championship or bust have been the same. Heading into the 2013 postseason, James is 1-1 while representing Miami on the NBA's biggest stage.
With at least two games remaining against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 finals—despite teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each scoring a career low in the playoffs—the Heat are on pace for their best postseason winning percentage of the Big Three era.
While averaging fewer points than he did in 2012, James is shooting a slightly better percentage from the field in '13 than he did previously with the Heat. The 6.5 assists he is dishing out are also more than he averaged during each of his previous playoff runs with Miami, while the 8.3 rebounds are slightly less.
With the series tied at 2-2 heading into Game 5, James is also only two games away from winning an NBA championship for the second straight season. If the Heat accomplish as much, based on the numbers he's posted along the way, James' playoff performance will once again be the biggest reason why.
Heat Winning Percentage
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are each averaging career lows of 15.1 and 12.7 points, respectively, in the 2013 playoffs. Despite that, the Miami Heat could still potentially record their best postseason winning percentage of the Big Three Era in 2013.
After eliminating the Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers, the Heat arrived in the NBA Finals with a playoff record of 12-4. They have since split four games with the Spurs for an overall mark of 14-6.
If Miami wins the next two games of this series to clinch the NBA championship and finish 16-6 in the playoffs overall, it would finish with a postseason winning percentage of .727.
In 2011, the Heat managed a playoff record of 12-3 before losing in six games to the Dallas Mavericks and finishing 14-7 (.608). In 2012, they were 12-6 before eliminating the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games to finish 16-7 (.695).
LeBron's Shooting Percentage
LeBron James scored 30 or more points 13 times during the 2012 playoffs. With at least two games remaining in 2013, James has reached the 30-point plateau only six times.
What's often overlooked, however, is that he is also shooting 50.1 percent from the field. This number is a slight improvement over the 50.0 percent he shot last year. It is also up significantly from the 46.6 percent he finished with in 2011.
The 25.1 points that James has averaged are less than the 30.3 he scored in 2012 but still more than the 23.7 he posted while making his playoff debut with the Heat.
While James did turn in a disappointing performance in Game 3 against the Spurs—finishing with 15 points on 33.3 percent from the field—it is still not the postseason career low of eight points he scored on 27.3 percent from the field against Dallas in '11.
James as a Facilitator
In light of the criticism that LeBron James received after losing Game 3 to San Antonio, it's interesting to realize that the 6.5 assists he's averaging in the 2013 playoffs are also more than his previous postseasons in Miami.
James averaged 5.9 assists in the 2011 playoffs and 5.6 assists in 2012.
He's improved his numbers as a facilitator this time around despite a downturn in scoring from Wade and Bosh. James totaled at least eight assists six times heading into Game 5 and could go for even more if his superstar teammates knock down the shots they're capable of making.
LeBron James has recorded double-figure rebounds five times during the 2013 postseason. Three of those rebounding efforts for James have come during the NBA Finals, and he's topped out at 18 for the playoffs.
Despite that, though, the 8.3 boards he's averaging are still less than each of his previous playoff runs in Miami. In 2011, James averaged 8.6 rebounds, and he finished with 9.7 in 2012.
Last year, on his way to an NBA championship, James grabbed at least 10 rebounds 10 times. He also finished with a postseason high of 18 against the Indiana Pacers in the conference semifinals.
In addition to being his best work on the glass since arriving in South Beach, James' 9.7 postseason rebounds in 2012 are also a career high.