LeBron James Should Be Finals MVP, No Matter What

The Cavaliers wasted another brilliant LeBron James performance last night in Oakland, losing images104-91 to the Warriors.  The game was a perfect demonstration of why the Cavaliers are about to lose these Finals, why LeBron James is the best player in the world, and why LeBron should be named the Finals’ MVP, even if Cleveland goes down either in Game 6 on Tuesday or Game 7 on Friday.

One of the main reasons why the clear MVP of this series is LeBron is because there is no clear MVP from the Warriors.  The team’s two best players in this series may very well be the league MVP (Steph Curry) and the series-altering addition to Golden State’s starting lineup, Andre Iguodala.  Curry has averaged 26.2 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists per game in these Finals; however, he was effectively shout down in Game 2 and for the first 3 quarters of Game 3 by Matthew Dellavedova. Iguodala has averaged 14.6 points, 6 rebounds. and 3.8 assists per game in the series, but has been +29 in the two games since being inserted into the starting lineup. James’ stats, however, are a different story.  Per game, he’s averaged a meager 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists.  While it’s true that his efficiency is at an all-time low, what other choice does he have?  Exactly; he doesn’t.  He has to put the team on his shoulders, and that he has and that this series is still going is simply amazing.

The last Finals MVP to not be on the winning team was the Lakers’ Jerry West in 1969.  That year, his Lakers lost to the Bill Russell and John Havlicek-led Celtics in 7 games.  Check out this stat that compares West’s performance that year to James’ this year, from ESPN Stats & Info:

That’s amazing.  It just goes to show you that he is doing everything he possibly can in this series to put the Cavaliers on his shoulders.  Due to injuries and a profound lack of depth on the Cavs’ bench, James has absolutely zero help from his own team. Also, to hammer home this point, SportsCenter tweeted this stat out today, demonstrating what LeBron has done in this series, in spite of his team:

That counts for 77% of the Cavaliers points last night.  LeBron James had a hand in nearly 80% of his team’s scoring on the offensive end.  The next stat again comes from ESPN Stats & Info, and it compares Curry’s fourth quarter with the games of Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Matthew Dellavedova, the other three perimeter players that played heavy minutes for Cleveland last night:

All credit to the Warriors and Curry for stepping up after a demoralizing loss in Game 3.  They have been a different team since going down 2-1 and putting Iguodala into the lineup. However, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the Warriors depth is winning out against Cleveland, who is still only playing eight a game.  However, they made a change last night in playing Timofey Mozgov, their best player in Game 4, for only 9 minutes in Game 5 compared to 33 minutes in Game 4.

It will be very difficult for the Cavaliers to come back and win this series.  However they have a chance.  They have a chance because they have LeBron James, and the Warriors do not. According to LeBron, they are confident in their chances. Listen to James speak about why he is still confident despite facing a 3-2 deficit and having to play a potential Game 7 in the loudest arena in the NBA:

It’s profound.  It’s bold.  It’s mic-drop worthy.  Most of all?  It’s true.  LeBron James is the best player in the world; that simple.

He’s the best player in this series.

He should be Finals MVP.

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