A win on Sunday would bode well for Los Angeles’ odds of advancing to the next round. Not only because the Lakers will play at home but because 95 percent of teams that have a 3-1 lead win the entire series.
Only 13 out of 260 teams have climbed back from a 3-1 deficit, and considering the talent Los Angeles has at their disposal, that shouldn’t be an issue.
The Lakers also have LeBron James on the roster, and with him at the helm, L.A. will always be in contention to win any game.
With Game 4 looming, let’s look at how James has performed in previous Game 4s throughout his career:
Overall Record: 35-14
James has featured in 49 Game 4s throughout his 18-year career. He’s made the playoffs in 15 of those seasons, which is just a dominant stretch for any player. James’ record of 35-14 dates back to his days as a Cleveland Cavalier when the rosters he was a part of didn’t have the same stacked talent as his days with the Miami Heat and now with the Lakers. Still, to have a win percentage of 71.4 in just one game with a large sample size is a solid indicator for Los Angeles. They’re looking more and more comfortable against the Suns, even though their 3-point shot has been abysmal.
Per-game averages: 29.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, 7.2 assists
James nearly averages a triple-double in Game 4s, and beyond the points, rebounds and assists, the numbers look even more fruitful. In the 42.4 minutes he plays, he also averages 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from deep. His free-throw percentage is 73.9 on 9.2 attempts. That volume is promising considering his aggression during the second half in Game 3 when attacking the basket turned the tide for L.A. So far this series, James is averaging 20.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 9.3 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from deep.
Record as a Laker: 4-0
The Lakers didn’t make the playoffs in James’ first season with the team, but he played in four Game 4s last season when Los Angeles won the NBA Championship. L.A. won all four games, and James averaged 25 points, 10.5 rebounds and 8.8 assists. Los Angeles won those contests by a combined 42 points. The Lakers won Game 3 by 14 points thanks to incredible defense, points in the paint and converting free throws. If they start knocking down their 3-pointers, they’ll be in good shape for another propitious outing in Game 4.