For LeBron James, It's 2007 All Over Again

Roger PAnalyst IMay 27, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 26:  LeBron James #23 and Zydrunas Ilgauskas #11 of the Cleveland Cavaliers look on from the bench during the game against the Orlando Magic in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the Amway Arena on May 26, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The 2007 NBA Finals weren't fun to watch.

The Cavaliers, just happy to be there, were outgunned at every position but one. The "Chosen One" aka LeBron James gave his all, but couldn't prevent a sweep.

And somehow, as much as I wish it weren't so, it feels like 2007 again.

LeBron has scored 169 of the Cavaliers' 405 total points in this series with the Magic—or about 42 percent of the team's scoring production.

He has also led the team in assists in all four games, with a total of 29. If we assume two points per assisted basket (though several were probably threes), that adds 58 points to LeBron's credit—making 227 of 405, or 56 percent of all Cleveland points occurring because LeBron was the last or second-to-last to touch the ball.

During the regular season, James averaged about 28 percent of the team's nightly scoring.

While we tend to think of the Cavs' 2007 run as a one-man show, the box score suggests that this year is even worse—that LBJ is getting even less help than he did in that ill-fated title run.

In those four games against the Spurs, James scored 88 points—a measly 27 percent of the Cavs' total 322, and 81 fewer than he has already scored in four games against Orlando.

He had 27 assists in that series, for (again, roughly) 54 more points. The LeBron total then comes to 142, still only 44 percent of the team's total points on the board.

The Cavaliers brass were aware, at the time, that LeBron had little help offensively, and so they made some highly-regarded moves to bring in help. Mo Williams at point, Delonte West at the two, and they purged the supporting cast of its more inconsistent contributors.

But in doing so, they put the onus on two guards without appreciable playoff experience. Williams and West combined for a total of only 12 playoff games between them before this season, and only three playoff starts, all from West. And it has shown.

While their postseason scoring hasn't changed much from their regular season averages (15.4 per game for Williams and 12.8 for West, compared to 17.8 and 11.7 in the regular season), they haven't been able to provide adequate clutch support for LeBron, resulting in a tired superstar and the loss of three close games.

Those three games have been decided by a total of 13 points, and their lone victory was by a single point—on James's miracle three.

If the Cavaliers are going to survive this series, they're going to have to live in the present—a time when they have some spot-on shooters to provide support to LeBron and balance to Cleveland's offense.

Until then, it's 2007 all over again.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.