The visiting Warriors made an NBA-record 15-0 start to last year’s playoffs with 3 sweeps and a 3-0 lead on the Cavs before suffering their only playoff loss, eventually taking the title in 5 games.
Still tired and wrestling with emotions after losing Game 3 on Wednesday night, when Kevin Durant scored 43 points and shot the Warriors within one win of their third title in four years, James pointed out Thursday what has become terrifyingly obvious. The Cavs did overcome a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 Finals against these same Warriors.
The sheer ease of their disposal of the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in the championship series sent a loud and clear message to the league that they are not about to vacate their perch any time soon.
“I think maybe the greatest testament to LeBron is that five years ago he was one of the top five players of all time”, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Just knowing the work you put in paid off means something”. “For us to be back here, with all the injuries we went through, a different journey through the playoffs”.
Even if the Lakers landed James and another top-flight player like a Paul George this summer, it’s still hard to see them being ready to overtake the Rockets and Warriors out West. Philadelphia might be on the cusp of contending in the East, but doesn’t seem like a championship club yet. “You’ve got two guys with MVPs on their team”.
Golden State claimed the sixth crown in club history, matching the Chicago Bulls for third on the all-time list. The Warriors won the game in overtime. “Is it if there is a ball on the ground we can’t reach for it but you’ve got to dive for it?” “There’s a lot of difficulties when you have some health issues, and it’s not easy”.
Commentators have suggested he would go to Philadelphia or Los Angeles, though many note his son is about to start high school, and the National Basketball Association star has established a charity in Cleveland, his home town.
WatchESPN: If one of the above services doesn’t include ABC live in your market, you can still watch the game on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the WatchESPN app. “I let the emotions get the best of me”.
“Pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand”, James said.
LeBron James sat in his locker, covered by more ice than clothing and his right hand – which he injured while punching a whiteboard following the Cavaliers’ devastating Game 1 loss – wrapped. James saw a referee call reversed against him and J.R. Smith forego a final shot with the score level, thinking the Cavs were ahead.
This season’s challenge came off the court – with the team’s mind-set and focus.
That’s why all signs point to James leaving, and playing out the final years of his career with a team where he doesn’t have to do as much, where he can still prove his greatness and where he believes he can win more titles. Well, I don’t think anyone outside of LeBron James himself knows the answer.
Fans chanted “M-V-P” to James in the final minutes, sensing his possible exit again. He could return to Miami, a place he still loves. “I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant”. On this road trip, I’ve already missed four of his games.
He may have struggled in Game 3 and didn’t produce a good performance but he bounced back in style last night as he poured in a game-high 37 points.
“We just know how to win and we really appreciate what everyone brings to the table every single game” Curry said. “We keep waking up every day and trying to get better and we end up here. We were able to do that”. Yet because of the talent involved, their 108-85 win and sweep of the Cavaliers came off as a formality. They run some lovely sets, but for the most part their success is determined by effort and discipline.
Then the league’s best team tightened the screws on Cleveland in the third quarter, outscoring the Cavs 25-13 and prompting Golden State fans to begin those drawn-out “War-eee-orrss” chants that provide a flawless musical accompaniment to their 3-point barrages. With his future in doubt, James left with 4:03 remaining to chants of “MVP, MVP”.
“The next person who walks up to me and says LeBron James, who is amazing, amazing, is as good as good as Michael Jordan or competes like Michael Jordan, I’m just going to slap the hell out of you right on the spot”.