We all saw the NBA finals last year. We all know the knock. We’ve all heard the jokes.
Why would LeBron James be a great hockey player?
There’s no fourth quarter.
Funny. Except, this year LeBron James has been the best second quarter player in the NBA.
Over at ESPN, the fantastic Tom Haberstroh had players PER (Player Efficiency Rating, a good snapshot number looking at a players statistical performance) and found that LeBron had the second highest PER in the league in the fourth quarter. Here are the top 5:
Chris Paul 38.7
LeBron James 33.1
Kyrie Irving 31.4
Derrick Rose 30.8
Kenneth Faried 28.7
First things first: CP3 is a flat out stud, and you got to love seeing Irving and Faried on here. By the way, I think the Bulls are going to really miss that Rose guy in the playoffs.
But through the regular season, LeBron James was really good in the fourth quarter. Haberstroh makes an interesting point — Shane Battier spells LeBron in the fourth quarter this season, allowing LeBron to get rest he did not last season. He’s fresher, with that more aggressive.
I’ll agree with you now — none of this matters with his general public perception until he does it in the NBA finals, until he gets a ring. He’s going to hear the fourth quarter thing until he does, and frankly he’ll still hear it from some anyway. We all heard what they were chanting at Madison Square Garden Thursday night.
Still, whether you want to admit it or not, he’s been fantastic in the fourth quarter this season.