Thursday, March 21, 2013
Anatomy of LeBron's largest comeback
By ESPN Stats & Information
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images
With 7:03 left in the third quarter on Wednesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers were rolling the Miami Heat, 67-40. Then Cleveland's proverbial wheels came flying off.
LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat controls the ball defended by Alonzo Gee (33) of the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday night.
Over the next 8:37, Miami outscored the Cavs 37-10, hitting 12 of 18 shots and outrebounding Cleveland 12-3. Simultaneously, the Cavaliers made only 3 of 11 shots and turned the ball over four times. At one point during that stretch, the Heat scored on 15 straight possessions.
LeBron James scored Miami's final eight points in the game-tying run, as part of his massive fourth quarter. He had 14 fourth-quarter points and assisted on eight more, accounting for 22 of the Heat's 30 fourth-quarter points.
No player has accounted for a higher percentage of his team's fourth-quarter offense in a single game this season, and the result was the biggest comeback win of LeBron James' career.
James also compiled his 36th career triple-double (25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists), which is second-most among active players. But he won't be catching the leader anytime soon; Jason Kidd ranks first among active players with 107 triple-doubles.
How rare is a 27-point comeback?
This was the third such comeback win this season, but it's not a common thing. In the last 15 seasons, teams trailing by 27 or more in the second half had five wins in 2,018 games entering tonight, for a miniscule win percentage of .002. Incidentally, the largest comeback win in NBA history is 36 points, by the Jazz against the Nuggets in 1996.
Miami trailed by 21 points at halftime, making this the largest halftime deficit overcome to win in Heat history. Over the entire second half, the Heat scored 145.7 points per 100 possessions, their third-highest offensive efficiency in a half this season.
Oh by the way, Miami has now won 24 consecutive games, leaving the Heat nine wins shy of tying the 1971-72 Lakers for the NBA’s longest win streak. Miami's next three games are against opponents at least 20 games below .500 (Pistons, Bobcats, Magic).