A few days ago, I wrote an article on how LeBron James’ legacy is at stake yet again, as he faces the team—the San Antonio Spurs—that caused his first defeat in the NBA Finals six years prior.
Well, five days after writing that article, it’s more of the same—except the pressure is growing even further with each game the Heat loses. Each game Miami loses, it’s made worse with the fact that LeBron is underperforming in the NBA Finals as a whole—a thought that was impossible after the season that LeBron had, and how he carried to the Heat to the finals despite Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh struggling for most of the postseason.
The Heat were blown out 113-76 in Game 3. Although the series stands at just 2-1, and much could change from here on out in the Heat’s favor—including a victory in Game 4 in San Antonio—the pressure is definitely building, and despite the Heat as a whole underachieving on the biggest stage of them all, the spotlight and scrutiny has been centered on one player—none other than ‘The King’.
In a series eerily reminiscent of the 2011 NBA Finals, and arguably, the 2007 NBA Finals that saw Gregg Popovich’s Spurs smother LeBron in his first finals appearance, LeBron has been non-existent on the offensive side of the ball.
James is once again struggling to find his shot, as the Spurs have taken away his driving lanes, and have forced to become a jump shooter—which James excelled at during the regular season, but he has struggled at mightily in the finals.
According to ESPN Stats and Info: LeBron James went 2-of-14 (14.3%) on field goals outside the paint in Game 3 and has gone 7-of-30 (23.3%) on such shots this NBA Finals.
LeBron also did not go to the free throw line once during Game 3, the first time that has ever happened during a postseason game in LeBron’s career.
The pressure is on the Heat in Game 4 to avoid being in a 1-3 deficit—but the pressure is also on LeBron to cement that he is ‘The King’.