LeBron James' disappearing act in the Miami Heat's Game 4 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals has received plenty of attention. James scored in single digits for the first time since 2007, and to make matters worse, it came after a 48-hour news cycle in which many people defended his play. It was the first game in this series in which he truly played poorly.
However, it's not the first game in this series where he played poorly in the fourth quarter. James has scored just nine points in the fourth quarter in the entire series, a staggeringly low number. By contrast, Dirk Nowitzki has scored 44 points in the fourth quarter in this series.
It's not an apples-to-apples comparison, to be fair. James has been ceding fourth-quarter scoring responsibility to Dwyane Wade in this series, a luxury Nowitzki does not have. Nowitzki simply has to score for Dallas to even have a chance to win, so he is going to get more touches and points. But the margin between the two players should not be as lopsided as 44-9, no matter the circumstances.
Be sure to follow our 2011 NBA Finals hub for full championship series coverage. For more on James and the Heat, visit Peninsula Is Mightier. For more on Nowitzki and the Mavericks, visit Mavs Moneyball and SB Nation Dallas.