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The Ultimate Face-off: NBA Finals Stats Showdown between Michael Jordan and LeBron James, The Greatest of All Time Contenders


NBA enthusiasts love to get into the GOAT debate and it is usually fixated around LeBron James and Michael Jordan. While there are various ways to contrast their contributions, looking at their NBA Finals stats can be a strong methodology. So how did two of the greatest players perform at the highest level of competition?

Jordan is often given the edge when it comes to the Finals because he has a 6-0 record, implying two more titles than LBJ. While James has made four additional trips to the biggest stage, he has lost six times. Therefore, a look at the overall stats for both players can carve out an interesting picture nonetheless.

Michael Jordan

Jordan played in 35 Finals games from 1991-1993 and 1996-1998. In these, he had an incredible 24-11 record and no Finals series featuring Jordan reached seven games. The high-flying athlete won the MVP during all six Finals. He notched 33.6 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game while committing 2.4 turnovers a game. He shot 48.1% from the floor and 80.6% from the free-throw line.

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

Jordan bagged 1,176 points, 211 rebounds, 209 assists, 62 steals, and 23 blocks in the Finals. Jordan’s best Finals performance was in 1993 against Charles Barkley and the Suns which included a 55-point explosion during Game 4. For the series, he tallied a mind-boggling 41 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 6.3 assists while shooting over 50%.

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Jordan’s 41 points per game Finals average remains the top-most in the league’s history. His overall average of 33.6 points per game is only second to Rick Barry who put up 36 points per game.

However, one huge difference is that Barry played in 10 finals games, unlike Jordan who did in 25 more games. For his Finals career, Jordan had a plus-minus of 10.9, a PER of 31.5, and a game score of 24.7, which are all extraordinary numbers.

LeBron James

Compared to MJ, James has featured in 55 Finals games thus far. He has a 22-33 record in the finals, meaning that he is yet to touch MJ’s Finals total wins despite featuring in four more series. In terms of numbers, James has impressive figures of 28.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 1.7 steals per game on 48.4% from the floor, 73.1% from the free-throw line, and 35.2% from the three-point line.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

So far LBJ has compiled 1562 points, 561 rebounds, 430 assists, 93 steals, and 46 blocks in the final. His 2014-15 Finals can be tabbed as the most impressive performance in terms of numbers. Although he lost the series 2-4 against the Warriors, he put up a herculean 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game including a 44-point effort in Game 1.

But he shot just 39%, so in terms of efficiency, he did take a hit. Apart from that, he has repeatedly shot over 50% during Finals and has gone past the 28 points per game mark in seven out of ten finals series. With 11 triple-doubles, James leads the NBA Finals pack. In terms of minus-plus, James has 9.5, a PER of 29.1, and a Game Score of 23.1.

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Both the GOAT candidates are neck-to-neck in various metrics. While Jordan never lost three games in a Finals series, James’ ability to make the Finals trip consistently is laudable. Therefore, even the NBA Finals comparison will only further divide opinions.

Even then, as per the numbers, MJ seems to be ahead in the race once again, which surely proves his dominance in the league even to this day.


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