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NBA Finals: LeBron James wins fourth career MVP award

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For the fourth time in his 17-year career, LeBron James has climbed the mountaintop.

lebron james

James and the Lakers coasted to a 109-93 victory over the Heat in Game 6 to win the 2020 NBA Finals. James finished the night with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, extending his record of career triple-doubles in the NBA Finals to 11. He averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists, shooting 59.1% from the field for the series, winning his fourth career Finals MVP award.

The win puts James in second place by himself for career Finals MVP awards, trailing only Michael Jordan, who won the award six times. Three others have won the award three times: Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan.

Lakers fans: Get SI’s special-edition L.A. Lakers 2020 NBA Champions commemorative issue here | SI Presents: Kobe Bryant Tribute issue

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LeBron James Calls Game 4 Of NBA Finals One Of The Most Important Games Of His Career

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When LeBron James woke up from his pregame nap, he sent his teammates a text. 

It was hours before they took the floor against the Miami Heat for Game 4 of the NBA Finals and he wanted them to know how much this game meant to him.

He called it a “must-win,” a term he sparingly uses. 

“I just felt that vibe,” James said. “I felt that pressure. I felt like for me, personally, this was one of the biggest games of my career and I just wanted to relay that message to my teammates, what type of zone I was in, what type of moment it was, because I just know how great of a team that we’re playing against.”

The Lakers went on to beat the Heat, 102-96, to take a 3-1 series lead. They’re one win away from their first championship since 2010.

James said he felt compelled to send that message after the Lakers’ lackluster performance in Game 3 when Jimmy Butler danced around their stagnant defense en route to a 40-point, 13-assist and 11-rebound performance in their 115-104 loss. 

He knew the Heat was feeling confident. 

And he wanted the Lakers to be ready. 

They responded with a hard-fought, defense-first game in which there were nine lead changes, nine ties and neither team ever built a double-digit advantage. 

The Lakers pulled ahead down the stretch. 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made a three-pointer followed by a layup on consecutive possessions — both off of assists from James — to turn a two-point Lakers advantage to seven points, 95-88, with 2 minutes left.

Anthony Davis put the nail in the coffin with 39.5 seconds remaining after making a three-pointer to give the Lakers a nine-point lead, 100-91.

James said he didn’t hesitate to pass the ball to Caldwell-Pope with

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Who are the top 10 players in total points and career points average in the Finals?

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Total career points is all about volume numbers.

So, naturally, players with multiple (minimum six Finals) appearances dominate the charts for the most career points in the Finals.

Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest player of all-time, is the only player in the top 10 to have appeared in less than eight Finals and in less than 44 Finals games. 

Here are the top 10 players for career points in the Finals:

 
Player Finals appearance Finals’ games Career points
#1 Jerry West 9 55 1679
#2 LeBron James 10 49 1383
#3 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 10 56 1317
#4 Michael Jordan 6 35 1176
#5 Elgin Baylor 8 44 1161
#6 Bill Russell 12 70 1151
#7 Sam Jones 11 64 1143
#8 Tom Heinsohn 9 52 1037
#9 John Havlicek 8 47 1018
#10 Magic Johnson 9 50 971

Only three players crossing over from the Finals career points to highest Finals’ scoring average clearly signifies the difference between volume and averages.

Following are the top 10 players for highest career scoring average in the NBA Finals (min. 10 games): 

 
Players Finals appearances Finals game Finals’ scoring average
#1 Rick Barry 2 10 36.30
#2 Michael Jordan 6 35 33.60
#3 Kevin Durant 3 14 31.71
#4 Jerry West 9 55 30.53
#5 Shaquille O’Neal 6 30 28.83
#6 Bob Petit 4 25 28.36
#7 LeBron James 10 49 28.22
#8 Kyrie Irving 3 13 27.69
#9 Hakeem Olajuwon 3 17 27.47
#10 Elgin Baylor 8 44 26.39

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