LeBron James In-Season Tournament stats: The numbers behind Lakers’ run to championship game

The Lakers are a respectable 14-9 through 23 games this season but they enter the NBA In-Season Tournament Championship with a perfect 6-0 record in tournament play. They have LeBron James to thank for that.

James, who continuously defies logic in his 21st season, has somehow shifted into another gear during In-Season Tournament games. As a result, he has his team in play for the first-ever NBA Cup and could potentially earn MVP honors.

The 38-year-old’s latest exploit came in the semifinals, where he led LA to a 44-point victory over New Orleans by scoring 30 points, dishing out eight assists and pulling down five rebounds in just 23 minutes of action, a stat line that would even be hard to replicate on a video game.

James’ performance against the Pelicans is just one example of his In-Season Tournament excellence. Here are a few numbers that do an even better job illustrating how he’s been on another level during the tournament.

MORE: Why NBA stars are motivated by In-Season Tournament prize money

LeBron James In-Season Tournament stats to know

3-point shooting

Against the Pelicans, James shot a perfect 4 of 4 from deep, marking just the third time in his 21-year career that he hit three or more triples without a miss. The other two occasions were during his rookie season, with the most recent occurrence coming on Feb. 4, 2004.

Through six In-Season Tournament games, James is shooting 20 of 32 (62.5 percent) from deep, a sharp increase from his career average of 34.6 percent from beyond the arc. 

Thanks in large part to his 3-point shooting in the In-Season Tournament, James is shooting a career-best 40.7 percent from deep on 5.6 attempts per game this season. His 2.3 makes per game are second to only the 2021-22 season, when he connected on 2.9 of his 8.0 attempts per game.

Is 3 the magic number? It might be too early to tell, but LA is 6-4 in games this season when James drains three or more 3s. Narrow the lens to focus on In-Season Tournament games, and the Lakers are 5-0 when James hits three 3s.

Incredible efficiency

James’ performance against New Orleans exemplifies the heightened level of efficiency with which he has been playing during the In-Season Tournament. He didn’t just score 30 points in 23 minutes, he did so while shooting 9 of 12 from the field and, as mentioned above, 4 of 4 from deep.

At the beginning of the year, there were rumblings that James would be under a heavy minutes restriction during the season’s early stages. And while that has ultimately proven to be false, James’ efficiency has allowed him to work smarter, not harder.

Thanks largely to his light minutes in the Semifinals, James is averaging 30.0 minutes in In-Season Tournament play. As for advanced efficiency, his effective shooting percentage of 69.1 percent and his true shooting percentage of 71.6 illustrate just how otherworldly James has been.

Delivering in the clutch

Even at this stage in his career, James has proven to be a reliable go-to guy in the clutch for the Lakers. That has held true in the two In-Season Tournament games that came down to the wire.

Both of Los Angeles’ In-Season Tournament wins over Phoenix were decided by exactly three points. In both of those games, the Lakers ran things through James, who, during Group Play, dished out a big-time assist to Cam Reddish to put the Lakers up by five points with 70 seconds remaining.

In the Quarterfinals, James scored or assisted on eight of LA’s 12 points in clutch time, which is defined as the last five minutes of a game that is within five points at any point.

In a winner-takes-all situation, you’d still be hard-pressed to find a player better suited to lead your team to one victory than LeBron. His clutch play is a major reason for that.

MORE: The biggest winners and losers from In-Season Tournament

LeBron James stats 2023-24

  • 33.4 minutes per game
  • 25.0 points per game
  • 7.5 rebounds per game
  • 6.6 assists per game
  • 55.3 percent field goal shooting
  • 40.7 percent 3-point shooting

Source : ESPN.com

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