Kahwi Leonard locks down LeBron in the key 2nd and 3rd quarters, using a strategy similar to the Russell/Reed strategy that Dennis Rodman used on Shaq
This allowed the Spurs to make a run and easily win their 5th championship. LeBron's deceptive stats do not come close to telling the real story of what happened. LeBron had 5 points on 1-6 (17%) FG when Leonard guarded him, and that stretch is what gave the Spurs the lead and eventually the win
Now to analyze LeBron's 2014 Finals in full context. LeBron was only productive for the first 2 games of the series. In the final 3 games, LeBron didn't show up on offense or defense, and was completely outplayed by 13 ppg Kawhi Leonard across the board. The majority of LeBron's stats over the last 3 games were padded in blowout situations (being down 15+). LeBron by no means was "carrying" his team in these Finals. The majority of LeBron's stats over the last 3 games were padded in blowout situations (being down 15+). And he got outplayed by Kawhi Leonard over the last 3 games
Games 3-4-5 Lebron scored 51 of his 81 points (63%) being down 15+ Leonard scored 27 of his 71 points (38%) being up 15+ Leonard outscored Lebron 44-30 in non-blowout situations
Leonard 23.7 ppg on 69% LeBron 27.0 ppg on 55% (Leonard 14% more efficient)
And again, Lebron stats were heavily padded in garbage time, in non blowout situations Leonard outscored him
Leonard 9.3 rpg LeBron 7.7 rpg
Leonard 2.0 spg LeBron 1.7 spg
Leonard 2.0 bpg LeBron 0.7 bpg
Leonard 2.3 apg with 1.7 TOpg LeBron 4.7 apg with 3.7 TOpg Leonard had a slightly better ast:TO ratio
Through games 3-4-5, Leonard scored much more efficiently (and more in non blowout situations) and outrebounded, outstole, and outblocked Lebron with a better ast:TO ratio
Game 3 Lebron had 14 points and 0 TO in first quarter, then 8 points and 7 TOs for the last 3 quarters. LeBron had 22-5-7-5 with 7 TOs on 64%, Wade had 22-4-2-2 with 5 TOs on 67%. But over the last 3 quarters, LeBron had 8 points and 7 TOs to Wade's 20 points and 3 TOs. The Heat cut the lead from 15 to 9 without LeBron, after Wade subbed in for him, from the 5:00 to 1:00 mark of the 3rd quarter, but even with that help LeBron still lost.
Game 4 Lebron had 9 points in first half and the Heat were blown out by 19 at halftime. He padded his stats from there, and did not score on Leonard in the first half.
Game 5 Lebron had 1 FG in 2nd quarter (2:30 mark) to bring the Heat within 5. Then he did not score again until the Heat were down 21 with 4:40 in the 3rd. He shot 1-6 against Leonard in this game according to ESPN "MVP Leonard Does it All," and according to that same article Leonard shot 65% on LeBron's overrated defense - http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/91529/mvp-leonard-does-it-all
Leonard clearly outplayed Lebron over the final 3 games, even with Lebron padding his stats, and Lebron failed to score consistently until after his teams were getting blown out. LeBron did not play well in the 2014 Finals after Game 2, he only padded his stats. LeBron's 2014 Finals was a repeat of the 2011 Finals after Game 2, the only differences being that LeBron's teammates disappeared along with him, and LeBron padded his stats to save face. So any notion that LeBron had an "amazing" series, and still lost because of his teammates is false. LeBron failed his team over the Final 3 games, and that's why he lost. He did not contribute offensively or defensively. The Spurs did have great offensive execution in this series, but a lot of that had to do with the poor defensive leadership of LeBron, who got exposed by Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard (Award Winner)LeBron James (Basketball Player)2014 NBA FinalsThe NBA Finals (Sports League Championship)Basketball (Interest)NBA Playoffs (Recurring Competition)Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award (Sports League Award Type)San Antonio Spurs (Professional Sports Team)Miami Heat (Professional Sports Team)DefenseDwyane Wade (Basketball Player)Tim Duncan (Basketball Player)