Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Elbow That Took Down the Cavaliers

During the Cleveland Cavaliers playoff run of 2010 we heard a lot about the elbow of Lebron James. He hurt it in the regular season and claimed it would cause his arm to numb periodically during games. We all remember Lebron steping to the free throw line against the Chicago Bulls and shooting the second shot left handed. He received two MRI's on the infamous elbow and both came back negative. It is rumored that it could have been elbow bursitis. I would just like to give some evidence to the effect that elbow had on LBJ's performance. I hope this will clear some of the allegations that he was "faking the injury" from some of the ESPN pundits, Skip Bayless mainly. I will post his stat lines from the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics.

Games 1 and 3 Both were played on three days rest. The Cavaliers won both of those games and LBJ was a huge factor in the victories.
In games 1 and 3 Lebron shot 56.5% from the floor hitting 55.5% of his three pointers and converting 80% of his free throws. He also averaged 36.5 points while grabbing 7.5 rebounds and dishing 7 assists during those two games.

Games 2,4,5 and 6
These four games were played on one day rest. The Cavaliers lost all of these games.
In these games LBJ hit 36.7% of his shots. He shot a pedestrian 11.7% from behind the arc and made 72% of his free throw shots. In those four games he averaged 22 points, 10.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game. Those numbers are inflated because of his game 6 performance where he grabbed 19 rebounds. Also game 6 was the only game, on one day rest, that LBJ hit a three pointer (making 2 of 4) the rest of the one day rest games he shot 0 of 13.

So, it's tough to blame a loss on an elbow. It even tougher trying to blame an elbow for a disappointing playoff run. But the numbers speak for themselves. The three days rest obviously helped Lebron and I just posted this curious as to why I was the only person who noticed this trend. I called both of the losses in games 5 and 6 because I noticed this trend. It's a shame I'm not on First Take with Skip Bayless so I can point this out to him.

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