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Despite LeBron James’s noted playoff collapses during his eight seasons in the NBA, this season seemed to be different. Most of the conversation in the past was about James’s collapses in crunch-time of playoff games. The NBA Finals between the Heat and the Mavericks, which recently ended, was a step back in a lot of ways for James. Thus far, James has been “UNLIKE MIKE” when it comes to his playoff résumé, especially this year.
Against the Mavericks, James put up points that would be considered spectacular for any average player. Still, James has displayed that he has the ability to play at a caliber way above most players in the League; therefore, we must hold him accountable for his performance against the Mavericks.
James, who has dominated his fair share of playoff games and countless regular season games, has the ability to take over the game single handedly. This is why there have been so many comparisons to him and Jordan throughout his eight-years in the league. People compare him to Jordan because they have seen bits and pieces of how dominant James can be.
The difference between James and Jordan is James is dominant sometimes and Jordan was dominant all the time, especially in crunch-time of the playoffs. It is said that great players produce in big moments, such as crunch-time of playoff games. This has not been James to date, but it was Jordan throughout his illustrious career.
Against the Mavericks, James’ highest point total was 24 points in game one; James didn’t match this point performance for the rest of the series. In fact, James points per game decreased from his high of 24 points to his low of 8 points for the series in game four.
Respectfully, in games two, three, five and six, James scored 20 points, 17 points, 17 points and 21 points. To say James under produced is truthful with the caliber of play he is capable of. James is capable of scoring 30-40 plus points a night. In fact, James has done this many times throughout his career, even in the playoffs, but James has not done this when it has mattered most.
Unlike King James, HIS AIRNESS always took over playoff games. Jordan’s playoff stats are nearly impossible to argue against being that he is arguably the greatest of all time. For his career, Jordan had two playoff games in which he finished with a triple double. James has not had any triple doubles during the Playoffs
Jordan’s career average for field goal percentage during the playoffs is .487. In comparison, James career average for field goal percentage is .460. Jordan’s career average for 3-point percentage during the playoffs is .332. In comparison, for the playoffs, James has an average of 323 from behind the arc. Jordan’s career average for free throw percentage during the playoffs is .828, while James has a free throw percentage of .746 for his playoff career.
With his career average of 33.4 points per playoff games, Jordan is the all time leader. In comparison, James has a career average of 28 points per game during the playoffs.
Throughout his career, Jordan averaged at least 30 points in the playoffs for all but one year! The year that Jordan averaged less than 30 points was during his rookie season with the Bulls in 1984-85. Even then, Jordan scored a smidge under 30 points a game (29,3 PPG). Jordan’s highest career average for playoff points per game was a whopping 43.7 points in his sophomore season (1985-86)!
In the playoffs, Jordan scored 60-plus points only once, however his record (63 Points), stand as the NBA record for points during a playoff game. If the regular season is included, Jordan had a total of five 60-plus point games during his career! This puts him in rarefied company, joining only 3 other players who have had multiple 60 point games.
Jordan accomplished the feat of 50-plus points a game seven times during his playoff career. If the regular season is included, Jordan had 34 games during his career in which he scored 50 plus point!
At 40-plus points a game, 30-plus points a game and 20-plus points a game, Jordan’s attainment of these feats dramatically increases.
Jordan scored 40-plus points a game 30 times during his playoffs career. If the regular season is included, Jordan did this a total of 172 times during career!
During the playoffs, Jordan scored 30-plus points a whopping 71 times! Include the regular season and Jordan scored 30-plus points during a game a whopping 460 times!
Interestingly, Jordan accomplished the marginally easier feat of scoring 20-plus points, fewer times than he accomplished the feat of scoring 30-plus points. Jordan scored 20-plus points, 64 times during the playoffs. Include the regular season and Jordan scored 20-plus points a total of 428 times during his entire career. This is still impressive, despite the dip in comparison to the feat of scoring 30-plus points a game.
There is no doubt that LeBron’s career and playoff résumé is impressive, especially in its own right. But it is not at the stage where it can be compared to the résumé of Jordan. The numbers don’t lie. Jordan’s résumé is far and away better than LeBron’s. Despite the unquestionable distinction between both players’ career accomplishments, another distinction that is important to take into account is the era in which they played..
Truth be told, the era Jordan played in was just a lot more physical. The 1990’s were a time when players would get pummeled if they drove to the basket or were in the paint area. Jordan competed against guys like Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason, who, for all intensive purposes, would try to knock opposing players to the hardwood floor. It is quite different in today’s era of basketball there are many whistles and foul calls. The best players are usually protected by these whistles and foul call, especially in the circumstance of driving to the basket or being in the paint area.
Ultimately, until LeBron James Wins Six Championships, he cannot be compared to Michael Jordan. Even then it’s still a questionable call. The conversation of whether LeBron James or Michael Jordan is better is like comparing apples and oranges. One has six rings and the other has zero! When KING JAMES has six rings it will be time to start the debate. But until then, LeBron James should be considered HIS HEIRNESS and HIS AIRNESS—Michael Jordan, should be considered KING JORDAN.
Note: stats are courtesy of ESPN.com and the website: www.michaeljordansworld.com