When asked if guarding Kevin Durant was wearing him down, LeBron James responded by saying he’s averaging a triple-double in the NBA Finals.
But when you look at the breakdown of when James has recorded those stats, it seems to be a tale of two halves. While he averages 18.5 ppg with 8.5 rpg and 7.0 apg with 65 percent from the field in the first half, the second half is an entirely different story.
James has averaged 10.0 ppg with 4.5 rpg and 4.0 apg shooting 44.4 percent from the field during the second half of the first two NBA Finals games.
This dropoff is incredibly significant. For comparison, James averaged 16.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg and 4.7 apg with a 51.2 shooting percentage during the second half of games in the 2016 NBA Finals.
Below you can see the breakdown of shooting percentage and how many points James scored during the second half in his previous NBA Finals appearances.
2017: 10.0 PPG, 44.4 FG%
2016: 16.3 PPG, 51.2 FG%
2015: 18.8 PPG, 38.6 FG%
2014: 14.0 PPG, 60.5 FG%
2013: 14.6 PPG, 45.7 FG%
2012: 14.8 PPG, 43.1 FG%
2011: 8.5 PPG, 45.7 FG%
2007: 13.3 PPG, 41.2 FG%
He has only played two games during the championship round this season so far but he is performing at a historically slow pace for his talent.
James may be averaging a triple-double during the NBA Finals but the bulk of his production has come during the first half of the first two games.
If he can keep the stellar play during the third and fourth quarter, then the Cavaliers will be in a much better position to win. Otherwise, his fatigue may get the best of him as the championship progresses.