Miami Heat Still Winning Despite Uncharacteristic Performance by LeBron James
To say that the Miami Heat have been rolling lately would be a vast understatement. Miami has won their last 19 games and can become just the fourth team in NBA history to have a winning streak of 20 or more games with a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. What’s intriguing about their winning streak is that the best player in the league and their team leader, LeBron James, hasn’t played up to his lofty standards over the last few games.
For the year, James has had another MVP-worthy season. He has averaged 26.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game this season. He has also been unbelievably efficient this season, shooting 55.9 percent from the floor, despite taking a team-high 17.9 field goal attempts per game.
Over the Heat’s last five games, however, LeBron has been a completely different player. Through those five contests, James has averaged just 19.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, five assists and 1.4 steals per game. He’s also shot only 50 percent of the field. Obviously those are still great numbers, but it isn’t the level of production that Miami is used to getting from LeBron.
They’ve been able to sustain their success, though, because other players on their roster have elevated their games. Dwyane Wade is averaging more points and assists per game than he has all season over the past five games and so has Mario Chalmers. Both players are also shooting over 54 percent for the past five games. It’s been less about the Heat’s superstar and more about them playing as a team over their last few wins.
It might trouble some people to see LeBron’s production slipping from his season averages, but it really shouldn’t. James and the Heat are just cruising at this point of their winning streak and their season. They essentially have the one-seed in the Eastern Conference locked up and are rolling into the playoffs. Right now, they are getting the entire team involved and James is taking a back seat. When they need LeBron to turn it on, though, there’s no doubt that he will do just that.
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